Oral health and hygiene are very important to a person's overall health. The practices necessary for healthy adult teeth need to start when people are children. Because of this, it is important to teach children how to brush their teeth correctly, from an early age.
1. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles
A toothbrush can make a huge difference in the effect that brushing one's teeth has. A child who is given an uncomfortable toothbrush is not going to like brushing his or her teeth. For this reason, it is important to choose a smaller toothbrush that will fit comfortably inside a child's mouth. In addition, the bristles should be soft to lessen the chances of the child over-brushing and hurting his or her gums.
2. Use a Small Amount of Toothpaste
Children should be given a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to brush. If given too much toothpaste, too much foam can develop which interferes with brushing. In addition, too much toothpaste can be unhealthy for a child. The fluoride in the toothpaste, if too much is consumed, can make a child sick.
3. Choose a Comfortable Position for Brushing
If a child is too young to handle brushing on their own, it may be easier for a parent to do the brushing for the child. This can be an uncomfortable task if a good brushing position isn't chosen. A comfortable position involves standing beside or behind the child with your arms reaching around. The toothbrush should be held in a way that is comfortable for the parent.
4. Use a Timer
Many pediatric and family dentists recommend brushing for a certain amount of time. This helps to ensure that all of the teeth have been covered by toothpaste and the brush. While it may seem like it would be easy to remember three minutes, it could be better to buy a timer. A simple sand timer or a fancier digital timer allows the child to know when they can stop brushing. Brushing teeth should never be seen as a punishment so if there is a timeout timer, it may be a good idea not to use it for timing brushing teeth.
5. Brush the Back Teeth First
The first few minutes of brushing children's teeth should be spent on the back teeth. This part of the mouth is where cavities generally develop first. For this reason, it is a good idea to focus a lot of attention on the tooth chewing surfaces of the rear teeth. The front teeth should be brushed as well, in the same way as an adult brushes his or her teeth.
6. Rinse Thoroughly
It is very important to rinse thoroughly. Swallowing too much toothpaste can allow a condition called fluoritis to develop. This condition results in white spots appearing on the surface of teeth.
Flossing habits should be started as soon as a child's teeth start to touch each other. The rear teeth will generally touch first. Flossing can be done with either a flosser or dental floss.
At the end, especially if a child brushes his or her own teeth, it is important to admire your child's shiny, clean teeth. If there is some reward for brushing teeth, a child is more likely to enjoy the habit.
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