Teaching Your Children How to Brush and Floss
Teaching your children how to brush and floss can be a very challenging endeavour. It is, however, essential to inculcate good habits at a very early age. The oral hygiene habits that you teach your children will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. The same amount of effort that you put into teaching your child table manners, or riding a bicycle, should be put into teaching them how to brush and floss.
A great many people believe that there is no point into teaching their children how to brush and floss while they still have their baby teeth, as these are going to fall out anyway. However, our experienced Vancouver dentist disagrees with that.Most children only lose their last baby tooth when they are ten or older.
That is certainly not the time to start oral hygiene lessons, as they have already acquired a bad habit, and are going to buck strenuously against the enforcement of this discipline at this late stage. The development of strong, healthy adult teeth is very much dependant on how the baby teeth were treated. Good habits at an early age will go a long way to ensuring that the adult teeth emerge strong and healthy.
When and How to Start
As soon as the first tooth appears, is the time to start. Obviously, kids are too small at that stage to do it themselves, so you will have to do all the work until they are at least 2 to 3 years old. There is no need to use toothpaste at this stage; you are merely trying to remove the excess food left after a meal and to get them used to the idea.
Children love to imitate their parents, so brush your teeth with them, and show them the proper way to use a brush. Very soon, they will be reminding you that they have to go and brush their teeth.
The Correct Way to Brush
- The golden rule for brushing teeth is twice a day for 2 minutes each time.
- Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the tooth.
- Brush from the base of the tooth to the chewing surface in short back and forth strokes.
- Brush the space between the teeth and the chewing surface, in short circular strokes.
- Make sure that every tooth is brushed.
- Make sure that the child scrapes his or her tongue to remove bacteria and prevent bad breath.
It is only necessary to start flossing once there is insufficient space between the teeth to insert the bristles of a brush. You will have to assist children with flossing until they are old enough to handle the job by themselves.
Extract about 18 inches of flossing thread from the container.
Wrap the end of the thread around a finger of each hand and steady the thread between thumb and first finger.
Insert the thread between the teeth, being careful not to apply to much pressure, as this might hurt the child.
Form a C-shape around the tooth, and gently move the thread up and down the tooth making sure that you go below the gum line.
By starting your child brushing and flossing at an early age, you will ensure that they continue these good habits for the rest of their lives.