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Editor's picks Teeth Care

Teaching your child to brush and floss

Passing on a good dental hygiene routine to your child at an early age will help to set them up for good long term oral health.  However, in reality, asking a small child to brush their teeth for 2 minutes and to floss can certainly be a challenge.

Your baby’s milk teeth (deciduous teeth) usually appear by the time they are six months old and will continue to come through until they have a full set of 20. These deciduous teeth are just as important to keep clean as they can also get infected, have cavities and cause your child to experience a toothache. Parents can use a soft clean cloth to help clean their teeth before introducing them to a soft training toothbrush that is fun and easy for your baby to hold and use.

Yes, fluoride is important for your toddler’s teeth, but make sure to use a kid’s toothpaste as they have a lower concentration of fluoride.  Kids tend to ingest toothpastes rather than spit them out.  Only a minimal amount of kid’s toothpaste is required on their toothbrushes.  It is the action of brushing that is more important than the toothpaste itself.  There are a range of kids’ toothpastes on the market that are specifically developed for toddlers.

While your child is learning how to brush on their own, parents can sometimes help by finishing off the brushing for them. The correct technique for brushing is to hold the toothbrush at a 45° angle to their teeth/gums, and using vertical or circular strokes. Avoid teaching them horizontal brushing strokes, as this can damage their teeth/gums and wear away their enamel long term.

Encourage your child to brush for at least two minutes twice a day.  Having a clock or a timer in front of them, will help them to visualize when the 2 minutes is up.  Kids’ electric toothbrushes are also good to use and most have a 2 minute timer on them as well.

Once your child’s teeth start contacting each other, you can start introducing them to flossing. Gently slide the floss between your child’s teeth without hurting the gum, and don’t press too hard.

Proper dental care habits need to begin at a young age to prevent dental complications in the future.  The team at Sparkling Dental have years of experience working with children. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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