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Tips on Teaching Your Kids How to Brush and Floss

Tips on Teaching Your Kids How to Brush and Floss

As a kids’ dentist in Denver, our team at Northfield Family Dental wants parents to understand just how important dental care at a young age is to their child’s long-term oral health development. When parents teach kids good oral hygiene habits at a young age, those habits continue to build and become a foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Learning the proper ways to brush and floss from a young age helps to reinforce those habits, making it more likely kids continue practicing them correctly for a lifetime. Fortunately, parents can teach their kids the proper ways to brush and floss by following the steps below.

Start Brushing at an Early Age

Plaque, the sticky biofilm most responsible for the development of tooth decay and cavities, starts attacking the health of a child’s teeth the moment they first emerge from the gum line. To protect your child’s fragile first teeth, parents need to clean their kids mouth after each feeding.

You won’t need to start brushing until your child develops teeth. Until then, clean your child’s gums after each feeding. Just start by cradling your baby’s head with one hand while using the other to gently wipe the mouth and gums with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze. By staring these habits early, you keep a child’s mouth healthy, making it easier for their baby teeth to properly form without needing to worry about the development of childhood carries or baby bottle tooth decay.

Teaching Your Child How to Brush

Just as with every new skill a child learns, it will take time for them to master how to properly brush. Since young children may not have the skill, attention span, or manual dexterity required to adequately clean their teeth and gums, parents should continue to help assist their child when brushing until old enough to do the job right on their own.

Even though a child may require some assistance brushing until the age of 7 or 8 doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t instruct them on the correct method of how to brush until older. By teaching your child the right way to brush from day one, you help to reinforce how the habit should be done while also giving your child plenty of time to practice over the years as you assist.

Step 1. To properly clean a child’s teeth, teach them to hold the brush at a 45-degree angle pointed toward the gums of the upper and lower teeth.

Step 2. When brushing, instruct your child to gently move the brush in a back-and-forth motion using short strokes that move the head of the brush along the teeth and gums. A child should repeat this process until all of their teeth have been adequately cleaned.

Step 3. Reposition the tip of the brush to place it in an upright position to reach behind the front and bottom rows of teeth. In order to prevent decay, your child must clean both the front and back surface areas of their teeth.

Step 4. Take a moment to brush the tongue. The tongue can easily become a breeding ground for smelly bacteria that contribute to the development of bad breath. A healthy tongue should appear bright pink. If your child’s tongue is whitish in color, then it needs to be brushed more frequently.

When combined, your child should spend at least two minutes brushing in order to properly clean all the areas of their teeth and gum.

Teaching Your Child How to Floss

Like Simon & Garfunkel or Ben & Jerry, brushing isn’t nearly as effective without its pal flossing. Kids need to have their teeth flossed from the moment two teeth connect. Otherwise, plaque can build up in these hard to clean areas, contributing to the development of decay and cavities.

Step 1. Teach your child to hold a short length of floss between their thumb and index finger. Wrap the floss around one finger at each end to gain a more complete control. Make sure not to apply too much pressure when inserting the floss between your child’s teeth.

Step 2. Position the floss into a C shape curve around each tooth and slide it up and down gently along the side of the tooth until it moves under the gum line.

Step 3. Use a fresh section of floss between each tooth to avoid just moving food particles and plaque around.

Step 4. Repeat this process until the floss has cleaned between each tooth.

 

Protecting your child’s oral health requires teaching them the basics of oral hygiene at a young age. If you have any questions about the best ways to teach your kids how to brush and floss, make sure to ask our kids’ dentist in Denver during your next appointment to Northfield Family Dental.

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