Written By Dr. Peter Wong / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
As a parent, you have an important role to play in your child’s healthy smile and one of the most important things you can do is help them brush their teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that as soon as you start to see your baby's teeth come in, they need to be cleaned.
When they're very young you can just take a rag and wipe the teeth, however, as they get closer to their first birthday you should seriously consider brushing. Tooth brushing should be done twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bedtime.
When to start brushing
Once their first tooth erupts, it is time to start brushing! When they are young, brush their teeth for them. First thing you should consider before brushing is to take your kids to the store and let them pick out their toothbrush with one of their favorite characters. In that way, they're going to be a little more excited about going home and trying it.
And when you brush you have to smile, you have to crack jokes, you have to tap dance, maybe do a little twirl. They need to understand that this is fun. You also do not want to always go to the bathroom. The child should know that brushing anywhere is fine. It often helps to stand behind them while cradling their head in one arm, while the other arm is free to use the toothbrush.
You can do this sitting down or standing up. For very young children, it may be easiest to brush their teeth when they are lying down with their head on your lap. This allows you to see better and ultimately do a better job! However, in my experience I would not recommend laying them down because the gag reflex is more prominent when they're on their back.
So, keep them upright or leaning forward a little bit. Also when you're in the bathroom, if you do brush, hold them in front of the mirror. And that way the child sees that image mirrored and they’ll think it's fine.
Next, help squeeze no more than a pea size amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush. If your child is younger than three years old, only use toothpaste if they are at a high risk of developing cavities. When using toothpaste, make sure your child spits it out and does not swallow it.
Place the bristles of the toothbrush where the gums and teeth meet. Gently brush in a small circular motion over every tooth, since brushing too hard can damage your child’s teeth and gums.
Proper tooth brushing
Proper tooth brushing takes at least two minutes! To keep track of the time, it helps to use a timer or brush along to a song. Start by brushing the outside or cheek side of the teeth in a circular motion. When brushing the inside of the front teeth, it helps to use the bristles at the tip of the brush to easily remove the plaque.
Next, brush the top or chewing surface of the teeth with a gentle back and forth motion. Finally, brush the tongue gently from back to front. When they are all done, get your child to spit in the sink and rinse their mouth with a little bit of water. Help them rinse their toothbrush and then let it air-dry.
You need, as a parent, to brush their teeth after every meal, gently, nicely without toothpaste. When your child can properly write his or her name in cursive, they are ready to start brushing by themselves and your job is done. This usually happens at around eight years old. But, it is still important to supervise to make sure they are doing a good job!
Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral care, skincare, body care and foot care. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Dr. Peter Wong, affectionately known as Dr. Peter by his staff and patients, has helped hundreds of patients achieve their dreams of the ultimate smile. He is happily married and has two wonderful children, Isabella and Christian. Dr. Peter enjoys blogging and spending as much time as possible with his family. http://hiddenvalleysmiles.com/our-staff/
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.