Top Tips for Brushing Your Child's Teeth
The most important part of your child’s dental care is what happens at home in between appointments with Dr. Stewart at Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry. To make sure your child’s teeth are getting brushed properly, take a look at the following tips and techniques for impeccable at-home oral hygiene.
1. Use the Right Toothbrush
The AAPD stresses the importance of using a good toothbrush. While either an electric or manual brush is fine, be sure to choose one with soft bristles in an age-appropriate size. Regular, adult brushes are far too large to clean a toddler or child’s mouth.
Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months or sooner if the bristles begin to fray. We recommend letting your child pick a toothbrush with a seasonal theme or featuring fun characters that will encourage them to use it.
2. Brush the Full Two Minutes
Unsupervised, kids usually won’t brush for the full two minutes recommended by the American Dental Association. Instead, they’ll brush hard for a few seconds, which doesn’t clean teeth and can damage the gums. For spotless teeth, children should brush gently for two minutes.
3. Supervise Brushing
Children shouldn’t be left to brush their teeth on their own until they’re about 7 or 8. Toddlers love to do everything on their own, which creates a great opportunity to teach them how to brush, while you stay involved in the process. Consider brushing together as a family or have an adult model for your child.
4. Teach Flossing
Teach your children to floss, too. During the night time brushing session, stress the importance of why we floss. The bristles of the brush can’t get into all those tight spots or where the teeth are crowded.
5. Use Plaque Disclosing Tablets
Pick up a packet of chewable plaque tablets. These teach kids the importance of brushing and flossing by revealing brightly colored plaque in the spots where they didn’t clean their teeth thoroughly.
6. Make Brushing Fun
Kids will do just about anything as long as it’s fun. Play dentist to teach proper brushing. Use a doll or wind-up chompers with a full set of teeth and help them brush the toy’s teeth. Show your child how to brush the top and bottom teeth on the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces. Then show them how to angle the brush to scrub the backs of the front teeth, too.
There are plenty of modern resources for making sure your kids brush properly. Colgate’s Tooth Fairy app is a great choice or play a two-minute online video created to entertain your child while brushing.
In addition to regular brushing and flossing at home, it’s important for children to see the dentist regularly, too. We welcome you to contact Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry to ask Dr. Stewart how often your child should have a dental appointment.