Brushing and flossing

Oral cleansing may begin even before your baby’s teeth start to erupt. Wipe the gums with a clean piece of gauze after each bottle or breast feeding. This not only cleans the mouth, but it accustoms your baby to oral cleaning procedures at an early age.

The change from gauze to a toothbrush should take place from 12 to 18 months of age.

Fluoridated toothpaste is not recommended for children under 3, and then, only a small pea-sized amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste should be used. Show your child how to spit out and not swallow toothpaste.

Encourage your child to brush as soon as it can be managed, but you should supervise and help until the necessary manual dexterity is acquired. Brushing should be carried out as soon after eating as possible.

Memo: The best type of toothbrush is has soft, rounded bristles, and a thicker handle that small hands can grasp more easily. It should have a small head with a straight edge at the top, two or three tufts wide and four to six tufts long.

Brushing should involve both teeth and gums. The brush stroke should sweep the gums and the teeth in the direction that the teeth grow. Scrubbing sideways simply shoves food debris between the teeth.

The biting surfaces of the molars should be thoroughly scrubbed since food debris can get caught in the pits and fissures on their surface. The mouth always should be rinsed with water after brushing – and the water spat out.

After the brushing routine is comfortable for your child, flossing where two teeth touch is a useful method of removing plaque from these areas. It is recommended that parents perform flossing procedures, as flossing too hard can cause damage to the gums.

Children who eat lunch at school may not have an opportunity to brush their teeth. Finishing the meal with a detergent food, such as an apple, celery or carrots, and then rinsing with water and swallowing is recommended.

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