Many parents have questions for the Smile Town Langley team about their children’s brushing and flossing routines. How soon should they start brushing and flossing? What is the correct technique? When should children learn to brush and floss by themselves?
Here are some tips and ideas from our Langley children's dentists for getting your kids off to a great start with their daily brushing and flossing routines.
Starting your child’s brushing and flossing routine early is a great way to get him or her into the habit. As soon as your child's primary teeth start coming in, it’s time to start brushing them twice daily - even if there are only one or two teeth to start with!
There’s not much to brushing primary teeth at first. When your child still only has a couple of baby teeth, you can start with a small piece of gauze or cloth. Wrap it around your finger with a tiny smear of toothpaste on it, and rub around the teeth. For kids under 3, it’s best to use water instead of toothpaste.
You can also start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as there are two teeth beside each other to floss between! Using soft, flexible floss, gently work it up and down the sides of each tooth.
Choose the Right Toothbrush
When your child is ready to start using a brush, choose one with soft, rounded bristles in different lengths, and a small, angled head.
Most pharmacies carry toothbrushes for various age groups, so be sure to check the package.
Teaching Your Child to Brush & Floss
Eventually, your child will be able to take over the responsibility if brushing and flossing, at first with supervision, and then independently.
You can teach your child to brush and floss by demonstrating the following techniques:
- Use a pea-sized dab of toothpaste for children between the ages of 3-6, and more as they get older. Preferably use a fluoride toothpaste
- Help your child hold the toothbrush at an angle against the gums
- Make sure your child moves the brush back and forth gently across his or her teeth, using short, circular strokes
- Ensure your child works slowly around all their teeth, top and bottom, front and back, methodically and carefully
- Demonstrate how to brush the tongue, to remove germs and keep breath fresh
- Cut a piece of soft, flexible floss, about 18 inches long
- Wrap the majority of the floss around each middle finger, leaving about an inch of floss between
- Slide the floss gently between the teeth, using your thumb and index finger to keep the floss taut; be careful not to push it too hard down to the gums
- Run the floss carefully up and down the sides of each tooth, including under the gum line
- Unravel a new section of floss as you move along from tooth to tooth