For children under three years, use only water and a soft-bristled toothbrush for cleaning their teeth. From the age of three, you should guide your child in the rudiments of proper brushing. Purchase a soft-bristled toothbrush, and use a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste for each session. Make sure your child does not swallow excess toothpaste during brushing.
Children should brush their teeth four times per day to avoid accumulation of plaque and food particles:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
Always examine the condition of your child’s toothbrush. Replace when you notice the bristles are fraying. Rinse your child’s mouth very well with water after each brushing and remind your child to avoid the temptation to swallow toothpaste. For the best dental hygiene, make sure your child flosses areas brushing cannot reach.
Flossing is the cleaning action used to gain access to hard-to-reach areas between the teeth and below the gum line, places a toothbrush can’t reach. Dental floss is a cleaning device consisting of a thin waxed nylon thread, used for cleaning trapped plaque and particles of food.
To floss, first pull out a small portion of floss from the holder. Tie both ends of the floss tightly round your middle fingers (or your child’s fingers), then drag in a back and forth motion to clean between the teeth all the way to the gum line. Floss gets into tight corners, extracting all plaque and food particles. As you drag the floss, untie more clean floss from your fingers to utilize the entire length of the floss. Do not forget to floss the back of your teeth.
It is important for your child to floss before going to bed, to ensure clean teeth throughout the night.
Your child may experience slight gum bleeding when first using dental floss. Bleeding is normal as long as it remains minimal. However, if bleeding persists over several flossings, let your pediatric dentist know during your next visit.