How to Properly Brush Your Child’s Teeth
Young children need supervision to learn how to care for their teeth with regular brushing. Baby teeth are important place holders for the permanent adult teeth and should be brushed twice a day as soon as they start to come through, usually around six months old.
By brushing your child’s teeth properly from a very early age, you teach them lifelong oral hygiene habits that will help them keep their teeth well into old age. Technique is important for proper brushing and dental hygiene, so here are some tips to make sure you’re teaching them correctly.
The Right Equipment
Use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles. If your child is over 18 months, use a pea-sized amount of mild toothpaste made especially for young children. For younger children, just use water, and for babies who are just teething, you can wipe their gums with a soft cloth.
Get Into Position
You’ll need to find a position that’s comfortable for you and your child that allows you to see inside their mouth. It can help to stand in front of a mirror, or sit next to or behind your child and support their head with your other hand.
Move the toothbrush gently and slowly over the surfaces of the teeth in tiny circles, taking care with the back teeth and hard to reach places. Move the toothbrush back and forth on the chewing surfaces, and then encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste and rinse. Many children will happily spit if you make a game out of it.
Once your child is old enough, you can have them hold the toothbrush and brush their teeth themselves with your supervision. You might need to go over some areas that weren’t brushed properly, but your child will soon learn how to do it alone. Don’t rush your child and be sure to brush for long enough to do the job properly and cover every tooth surface.
Make it Fun
The best way to encourage your child to brush regularly is to make it fun, or make it a game. Children are reluctant to brush their teeth because they’d rather be doing something else. However, by making teeth cleaning fun, they’ll enjoy it and look forward to it.
For older children, you can buy plaque disclosing tablets from the supermarket which the child chews and spits out after brushing. Any plaque left on the teeth will be stained a different colour, usually red, and easy to see. Your can then see which areas aren’t being brushed properly so you can adjust your technique.
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