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Simple steps to teach your child to brush and floss for good dental care

Simple steps to teach your child to brush and floss for good dental care

Teaching your child a good dental hygiene routine will set them up for healthy long term oral health.

However teaching a busy child to slow down, brush their teeth for 2 minutes and to floss can certainly be a challenge.

Your baby’s first teeth usually appear by the time they are six months old and continue to come through until they have a full set of 20 baby teeth. These first teeth are just as important to keep clean as they are as your child grows. Use a soft clean cloth to clean first teeth before introducing a training toothbrush that is fun and easy for your baby to hold and use.

Fluoride is important for your child’s teeth and toothpaste should be introduced around the age of two. However minty flavoured toothpaste can be its own challenge. There are ranges of alternative mint free flavoured toothpaste that still gives your child the fluoride they need. Look out for these in chemists and even health food stores.

Until your child can properly brush their own teeth, you should brush their teeth for them to assist with proper dental care. The correct technique for brushing includes holding your brush at a 45° angle against your child’s teeth/gums and using vertical or circular strokes. Avoid teaching your child horizontal brushing strokes, as these can damage your teeth/gums and wear away enamel.

Your child should brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice a day, however in the rush to get out the door for pre-school or school, this can sometimes be rushed. Try using a favourite song to brush to or there are a range of free iPhone apps which ensure children enjoy brushing their teeth for 2 to 3 minutes.

Once your child’s teeth start touching each other, it’ time to introduce flossing as the tiny gaps between teeth can’t be reached by brushing alone, and the food build up is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that leads to cavities and decay. To introduce flossing, gently slide the floss between your child’s teeth and work it up and down, against the surfaces of each tooth. Don’t work it against the gums too hard as you don’t want to hurt sensitive gums or create any negative experience around flossing.

Proper dental care begins young and the habits that are formed can prevent dental complications and orthodontic treatments for older children. The team at Somerset Dental are here to help you teach your children proper dental hygiene. Contact us today and make an appointment with the team.