BRUSHING: IT’S THE FOUNDATION for keeping your mouth clean and healthy. That’s why it’s so important that children learn early on how to be effective when they brush their teeth. Many children (and parents) don’t think much about brushing. Which means they may be skipping important steps in their oral care. Here are three questions to ask your child (and yourself) about brushing:
1. Are You Using The Proper Brush?
Your child’s toothbrush should be small enough to reach every small corner inside his or her mouth, and it should have soft bristles.
2. Are You Using The Proper Technique?
Brush with the bristles against your teeth and gum line at a 45 degree angle. Brush in small, circular strokes, imagining plaque being swept away from the gum line. NEVER brush too hard. Think about holding your toothbrush like a paintbrush! When it comes to brushing, elbow grease won’t get you anywhere—it just flattens the bristles against your teeth where they can’t do any good. And, it can wear down your enamel more quickly.
3. Are You Thorough?
It takes two full minutes to do a thorough brushing job… 30 seconds per quadrant. And, don’t forget these frequently ignored spots:
- inner side of your front teeth
- your tongue
- inner side of back molars, next to your tongue
Remember, if your child is unable to do a properly thorough job alone, he’ll need YOU to help him out!
Watch This Helpful Video With Your Child & View These Guidelines
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association has produced a quick-reference guide. You may want to hang it up in your child’s bathroom to remind them to cover all the bases.
Ready To Take It To The Next Level?
If you feel like you have the basics covered, try these tips:
- Brush without toothpaste. It makes your child more aware of where they do and do not brush.
- Try a plaque-disclosing tablet or rinse. These products color the plaque on your teeth so you can really see your progress.
- Most people follow the exact same pattern each time they brush. Challenge your child to start in a new place every day.
- Don’t forget to floss!