Brushing is a vital part of maintaining good oral health, learning the correct technique and developing a consistent oral hygiene routine. Start teaching your kids to care for their teeth from an early age to help reinforce life-long dental hygiene habits.
Simple Tooth Brushing Tips
Before teaching your kids about the importance of oral health, you need to have the right tools for the job. Use only ultra-soft or soft bristled brushes to prevent damage to gums and wearing down enamel. Brush your kids’ teeth at the same time each day to help develop consistent brushing habits; after breakfast and before bed.
Brushing Tips For Kids Up To Three Years
It is never too early to start a good oral hygiene routine for your kids. Begin by cleaning your infant’s mouth after every meal with a clean finger and a clean damp cloth. Use gentle pressure and circular motions to stimulate gums and wipe away bacteria. Once their first milk tooth has broken through, add a soft bristled toothbrush to the routine, and use water or non-fluoride toothpaste suitable for infants. Even when your toddler has grown more teeth, still avoid fluoride toothpaste as it can result in mild dental fluorosis.
Though it is recommended that kids brush their teeth for two minutes, fidgety kids may benefit from a shorter brush time until they become used to the routine. Up until the age of three, parents will need to do the brushing to make sure it is done properly, but you also allow your child to practice by having them brush their teeth first.
Brushing Tips For Kids Three To Six years
By the age of three, your child should be able to brush their teeth on their own with your supervision. Give them a soft, electric toothbrush if you feel that brushing manually is ineffective.
Continue to use toothpaste and increase the amount to around the size of a pea, ensuring that they spit out toothpaste after brushing. Also, incorporate flossing into your daily dental hygiene routine now that their teeth are starting to sit closer together.
Brushing Tips For Kids Above Seven Years
Children over seven can use the same toothpaste as adults if they do not ingest it. By now they should have developed a consistent brushing and flossing routine twice daily, though you may still want to supervise them.
Children's Brushing Guide For Parents
- Set a positive example
Young children learn best by mimicking their caregivers, and it’s never too early to start being a good role model for oral health. Place infants and young toddlers on your lap when you brush your teeth so they can see that it isn't anything to be afraid of, and you can also demonstrate the correct brushing technique.
- Make tooth brushing fun
Children are more likely to brush their teeth if they enjoy doing it. Make teeth time fun by using fun toothbrush characters, singing a special brushing song or using an app like Brush DJ to help them keep track of how long they are brushing.
- Use a mirror
Kids learn better when they can see what is going on. Stand your child in front of you on a small step or have them sitting on your lap facing away from you in front of the bathroom mirror. Have them tilt their head up so you can see their teeth as you brush, and for older toddlers and kids you can guide their hand to show them how to brush.
Visiting A Dentist
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should coincide with the emergence of their first milk tooth. This offers them the opportunity to practice visiting the dentist without pressure or stress and helps them to develop a good relationship with the dental staff. Always talk about going to the dentist positively so your child will learn not to fear the dentist or the instruments they see at the clinic.
Fissure sealants are a thin plastic coating that goes over your child’s back teeth to prevent tooth decay by reducing food particles and bacterial build-up in the crevices of their teeth. They are applied once the permanent molars and premolars erupt.
Fissure sealants can last up to 10 years, providing a smooth cleaning surface and protecting your child’s teeth from bacteria. To learn more about how fissure sealants can help maintain your child’s oral health, call your local dentist for an appointment.
Dr. Adeel Ali is a London-based dental surgeon, mentor, educator and director at Dr. Adeel Ali Implantology, with a special interest in providing Same Day Teeth in Essex using dental implants and All-on-4 Full Arch Implants.
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