Brushing and Flossing

As your child gets older, it is still important to supervise their daily dental routine. Children can start to “brush” their own teeth as soon as they can hold a toothbrush. Parental supervision is needed until they are seven or eight, when most children have the muscle strength and coordination to do a thorough job on their own.

Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces, but not in-between teeth. For younger children we encourage moving the brush in a circular motion. When teaching older children to brush, place toothbrush at a 45-degree angle; start along gum line with a soft bristle brush in a gentle circular motion. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper, and lower. Repeat the same method on the inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all the teeth. Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen breath and remove bacteria.

Flossing removes plaque between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch. You should floss the child’s teeth until he or she can do it alone. I recommend the pre-made flossers with handles. They make flossing more enjoyable and easier for parents. Gently scrape the floss against the side of the tooth. Repeat this procedure on each tooth. Don’t forget the backs of the last four teeth.

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