It is important for children to brush at least twice daily and floss. Younger children, under age 6, will need the help of an adult to brush the harder to reach areas. To encourage children to brush after every meal, allow them to pick out their own travel size toothbrush and toothpaste to take to school. Look for a toothbrush with soft bristles and a fluoride containing toothpaste. Children under 3 years old should use a rice-sized amount of toothpaste. Children older than 3 years old can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. If your child is not able to spit out the excess toothpaste, a clean washcloth or gauze can be used to wipe the excess paste out of your child’s mouth.
When brushing, move the brush in a circular motion and brush both the teeth and gums. A lot of plaque accumulate at the gum line. Remember to use the “Rule of 2”:
Brush 2 teeth at a time, Brush for a total of 2 minutes, Brush at least 2 times per day. Toothbrushes should be replaced every few months or if frayed.
Flossing is for areas that can’t be reached by a toothbrush, in between teeth. The floss will remove food particles and plaque. It is very important to floss your child’s teeth every day to prevent cavities and gum disease. When your child first starts flossing, you may notice the gums bleed a little. Children or patients with limited dexterity may find flosser (dental floss with a handle) easier to maneuver.
How to floss:
1. Remove floss from dispenser, or use dental flosser
2. Wrap floss around middle fingers
3. Guide floss between all teeth to gum line, forming a “C” around each tooth to pull out plaque and food particles
4. Move the floss along finger, so that a clean portion is used between each tooth
5. Floss behind all back teeth