Could your child improve his or her tooth brushing technique? Even if your child brushes his or her teeth regularly, bad habits can easily find their way into a child's brushing routine. If you haven't monitored your child's brushing a while, check in soon to see if you may be able to offer the following helpful tips and reminders about ways to brush better.
1.) Brush softly, especially near the gum line.
Children can become a little overzealous when brushing their teeth by pressing bristles too firmly or aggressively brushing the gum line. Doing so over an extended period of time can cause gums to become irritated and swollen. Remind children that brushing should occur in the form of gentle back-and-forth motions across the tops, bottoms, and sides of the teeth, while holding the brush at a 45 degree angle. Showing, rather than just telling, may be the best way to help your child improve his or her brushing technique.
2.) Brush and floss behind top front and bottom front teeth.
The areas behind the top front teeth and bottom front teeth are easy to overlook while brushing, as they require children to adjust the position of their toothbrush. However, because these two areas come in more frequent contact with food, they can quickly accumulate tartar if ignored.
3.) The two-minute rule does matter!
Did you know that most kids fall short of this important time frame for brushing teeth? However, brushing for a full two minutes is the official recommendation of leading oral health organizations. Though it can be challenging for children (and adults) to know just when two minutes have passed, consider dividing the mouth into four sections (top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left), and counting to 30 as you brush each section. Or, place a timer in the bathroom that kids can set for a truly accurate two-minute count. A growing number of electric toothbrushes are also available with built-in timers or songs that play for a two-minute duration.
4.) Don't forget about the tongue.
The tongue is another important area to remember while brushing teeth. In fact, up to 50% of mouth bacteria can live on the tongue! This means that even though your child may be a tooth-brushing all-star, if the tongue is neglected, he or she may still be at risk for developing cavities and oral health issues. Plus, it's the bacteria that live on our tongue that are often the cause bad breath.
5.) End by rinsing the brush.
After your child finishes brushing his or her teeth, have him or her rinse the toothbrush under running water for a few seconds. Why? The bacteria and food particles that were on the surface of the teeth may be transferred to the bristles of a toothbrush. If a brush isn't rinsed after each use, these germs will stick around and be present the next time teeth are brushed. Additionally, rinsing a toothbrush after each use can improve its longevity by preventing extra toothpaste on the brush from drying and hardening the brush's bristles.
As a leading pediatric dentist serving children in the New Port Richey area, Dr. Frank Pettinato is here to answer any questions you may have about your child's oral health. Contact A Safari Dental today with questions or to book an appointment for your child.