If a child is younger than age 3, parents should clean their child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. After age 3, parents should still assist with brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.
When brushing, your child should move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under the gum line. Instruct your child to hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take several minutes to thoroughly brush. They should brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all the front and back teeth, and brush the tongue and the roof of their mouth before rinsing.
Your child should have their teeth brushed at least twice daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque that cause dental disease:
- In the morning after breakfast
- At bedtime (THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE!)
As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your child’s toothbrush with a new one. Do not allow your child to swallow any toothpaste. They should rinse thoroughly with water after brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your child's teeth every day.
For toddlers and patients with limited dexterity or disabilities we suggest the use of floss handles to simplify the process.
Instructions for flossing:
- Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser.
- Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around the middle fingers.
- Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque.
- Unwrap clean floss from around the fingers to ensure the floss is used from beginning to end.
- Floss behind all the back teeth.
Floss at night to make sure teeth are squeaky clean before bed. When you first begin flossing, the gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let us know at your child's next appointment.