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Tips for Teaching Your Child to Brush and Floss Their Teeth

Many parents question when to begin teaching their child how to brush and floss their teeth. Baby, or primary, teeth are important to the development of permanent teeth and need to be cared for. Also, you want to give them good oral habits that will last a lifetime. Teaching your child to brush and floss their teeth isn’t hard. It takes consistency and patience.

When to Start

You should begin when you child is an infant. Gently wipe out their mouth with a soft cloth or gauze after each feeding. As soon as the first teeth appear, use a very soft brush to brush their teeth and gums.

  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush and water to gently clean baby’s teeth.
  • If your dentist recommends a fluoride toothpaste for your child use less than a pea size for children under two and a pea size amount for children two to five years of age.
  • Brush your child’s teeth in the bathroom while they watch you in the mirror.
  • Make it a habit for your child to brush their teeth twice a day, morning and night.
  • A soft bristle electric battery powered toothbrush may be handy to remove plaque and make it more fun to brush their teeth.
  • Replace toothbrushes every four to six months, if they become frayed, or after a bout of the flu.
  • Children less than two years old should spit out the toothpaste after they brush. Children ages two to five can rinse their mouth out with water and then spit.

Proper Brushing Technique

If your child learns the proper brushing technique early in life, he or she is set up to have healthy teeth and gums throughout their life.

  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush held at a 45 degree angle towards the gums.
  • Move the toothbrush gently back and forth with short strokes along the teeth and gums. Use this technique for the interior and exterior surface of the teeth.
  • Use the tip of the brush in an upright position to brush behind the front teeth on the top and the bottom.
  • Gently brush your child’s tongue to remove bacteria.

Proper Flossing Technique

Your child should begin to floss as soon as their teeth are next to each other. Flossing removes food debris and helps prevent the formation of plaque.

  • Twine the floss around one finger at each end and do not apply too much pressure when flossing between your child’s teeth.
  • Slide the floss in a C shape curve around each tooth and under the gumline.
  • Use a new section of floss for each tooth.
  • Use an interdental brush between tooth surfaces if desired.

Use these tips to start your child on a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits. Regular dental visits every six months are also important to keep your child’s teeth and gums looking and feeling health. Call or contact us today and let us help you teach your child proper brushing and flossing techniques.