Getting your child to brush their teeth may be a fairly easy undertaking. The challenge however is getting them to brush their teeth the right way. Yet it still comes as a surprise when parents learn that their child is not brushing their teeth as well as they could be. Thankfully most oral care mistakes are easy to fix by simply going back to the basics and following a few simple steps.
Choosing the Right Type of Toothbrush
The size of the brush head is extremely important for children because they have much smaller mouths. Tooth brushes are available in many different sizes including the size of the head and the thickness of the handle. If you are unsure which brush is the right one for your child, ask your Smile Reef pediatric dentist for advice. One of the most important things and one that your dentist will insist upon is that the toothbrush you select for your child should always have soft bristles. Why? Because the bristles need to flexible enough to remove bacteria and loosen plaque from the teeth and gums. Many parents believe that the harder the bristles, the more thoroughly they will clean but according to dental care professionals, hard bristles can wear down the structure of the tooth and damage gums.
Brushing Back & Forth Instead of Up & Down
Many parents make the mistake of allowing their child to use too much pressure when brushing their teeth. Teach your child to gently massage their teeth instead of scrubbing. Many children brush back and forth which can cause tiny tears in the gums. Instead teach your child to begin at the gum line and go up and down in small circular motions. Turn the daily chore of brushing into a game by setting an egg timer or using your cell phone to play your child’s favorite tune. Your average song plays for about to 2 to 3 minutes which turns out is the perfect amount of time to remove food particles and plaque.
Don’t Forget the Gum Line When Brushing
Bacteria have a tendency to collect where teeth meet the gum line; unfortunately the area of the tooth just under the gums is one that is often missed during your child’s brushing routine. Brushing should include the entire surface of the tooth including under the gum line. Your Smile Reef pediatric dentist recommends teaching your child to angle the brush at 45-degrees before brushing against the gum line in circular motions as they move up and down the tooth. Don’t forget to teach your child to brush their tongue as part of their daily dental care routine. Most of us are guilty of concentrating on the outside surface of the tooth that can be seen, while neglecting the tongue side or inside surface of the teeth. According to dental professionals this is the most common oral care mishap that we pass on to our children. Plaque build up left sitting on the inside surface of the tooth will cause inflammation along the gums and often turn to calculus (hardened plague) which can only be removed by your dentist.