Tips for Brushing
As pediatric specialists, our job here at Smile Island Pediatric & Adult Dental Group is to help ensure your child maintains pristine oral health. While routine checkups and professional cleanings are vital, your child’s at-home regimen is even more important. Without the proper oral hygiene routine, tooth decay and gum disease will likely occur.
Education is the foundation of preventive dentistry. During your child’s appointment, be sure to ask any questions and voice concerns. can show you and your child the proper brushing technique, as well as provide other oral health tips.
The Proper Brushing Technique
Until your child is old enough to brush their teeth, this responsibility falls on your shoulders as a parent. We find its best to break the brushing process into several steps:
||Step 1: Keep the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle towards the gum tissue.
||Step 2: Gently brush the teeth in a back and forth motion. Use short strokes as you continue along the outer and occlusal surfaces of each tooth.
||Step 3: Make sure the tip of the brush is in an upright position to reach behind the teeth as well. Many people often neglect this area when brushing.
||Step 4: Use the brush to remove bacteria from the tongue.
The primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt around 6 months. Until then, we usually recommend using a damp cloth or gauze to gently clean their gums. Once the first teeth emerge, you can switch to an appropriately-sized toothbrush. We also recommend scheduling their first appointment around this time.
Teaching Your Child How to Brush
There is no exact age that tells you when your child is ready to brush on their own. However, there are several indicators they may be ready to learn. Some children may even be eager for a bit of independence.
By the time your child is five or six, they should be able to brush and floss their teeth. See if you can find them a kid-friendly brush, maybe one with their favorite superhero or cartoon. Including them in the decision may empower them to take a more active interest in their oral health. During this time, you should still be monitoring their habits to ensure they are implementing the proper technique at least twice a day.
Be sure you and your child use a toothbrush and toothpaste that are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). The toothpaste should contain fluoride to protect your child’s enamel from dental caries (tooth decay). Children between the ages of three and six only need a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a pea.
Above all else, try to be consistent. The goal is to establish an oral health routine that protects their teeth and gums for years to come. If you have any questions, never hesitate to reach out! Our team is always happy to help.
Schedule an Appointment
If you would like to learn more about your child’s oral health, call 916-773-6565 to schedule an appointment today.