Brushing & Flossing Instructions
Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months.
Wipe infant’s teeth gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow and erupt back teeth, use a child’s toothbrush with a small, pea-sized dab of toothpaste. Get your child involved in brushing very early but keep in mind that until they have the dexterity to tie shoes they need your assistance. You will still need to brush where they miss. Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, back and forth motion to remove plaque.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.
- Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
- Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
- Floss between teeth if they touch daily.
When To Begin Brushing
Once your child’s teeth begin erupting, you can begin cleaning them by wiping them with a moist washcloth. As your child gets more teeth, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. You should use just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. At age one it is appropriate to start using toothpaste with fluoride in order to strengthen the enamel and prevent decay.
For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include:
- Let your child brush your teeth at the same time.
- Let your child pick out a few toothbrushes with his favorite characters and giving him a choice of which one he wants to use each time (this will give him some feeling of control over the situation).
- Let your child brush his own teeth first (you will likely have to “help out”).
- Let your child read some children’s books about tooth brushing.
- Have everyone brush their teeth at the same time.
- Brush during a favorite song which is about 2 minutes.
- Use an electric toothbrush that can make it more fun.
- Brush in locations other than the bathroom (i.e., in the bathtub or while watching tv).
To help your child understand the importance of brushing and flossing, it can be sometimes fun and helpful to let them eat or drink something that will “stain” their teeth temporarily and then brush and floss them clean.
It can also be a good idea to create a “tooth brushing routine” and stick to the same routine each day. We have other helpful hints that we can teach you and even demonstrate during your child’s preventative care appointment. Call our office for assistance: Charleston Office Phone Number 304-345-0541.