By now, brushing your teeth is a part of your everyday routine. Brush once in the morning. Brush once at night. Brush for 2 minutes and remember to floss. But what about your little ones? Limiting sweets and feeding children a well-balanced diet are important for good dental health, but teaching your kids to brush and floss properly (and regularly!) are also essential to help smiles last a lifetime.
Encourage your children to brush twice a day using ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste with a proper sized toothbrush. To make brushing more fun, let them pick out their own toothbrush at the store, and brush your teeth with them.
To start brushing, place a pea-sized dab of toothpaste (make sure your child doesn’t swallow it) on a soft-bristled toothbrush. Then instruct the child to:
- Gently brush back and forth inside each tooth first. Then brush the outer surface of each tooth.
- Angle the brush along the outer gum line and gently brush back and forth.
- Brush back and forth on the chewing surface of each tooth.
- Using the tip of the brush, clean behind each front tooth—top and bottom.
- Finish by brushing the tongue—which may feel funny for your child.
Start flossing your child’s teeth daily at age 4. By age 8, they can usually floss on their own.
And don’t forget to visit the dentist for regular checkups.