Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste, unless the child is under the age of 3. If a child is younger than age 3, parents should clean their child’s teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. After age 3, parents should supervise brushing. Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.
When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all of your front and back teeth.
Brush your teeth twice a day to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning:New research shows that brushing before breakfast is even more effective than after breakfast.
- At bedtime
As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
Recent study showed that brushing in the morning before breakfast is even more effective in plaque and biofilm removal than after breakfast. This means it is even easier to comply with morning brushing as the child is in the bathroom getting ready for day: washing face & hands, brushing hair, now we can have them brush their teeth too.
Evening hygiene program that we recommend is for parental supervision at least till the age of 10. Start with brushing, then flossing, and if child has permanent teeth: Rinsing with a fluoride rinse. No eating or drinking for 30 minutes after the fluoride rinse.
**no fluoride paste or rinse till the child is spitting all paste and water out of the mouth 100% of the time. Usually by the age of 4 the child can start fluoride paste. If the child swallows fluoride paste, this has been linked to chalky white spots in permanent teeth.
-Prescription fluoride paste may be prescribed, only to be used with direct parental supervision
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.
Our office recommends the use of disposable flossers as most parents’ hands are too large fit in a child’s mouth. There are many types of flosser to use and we like to dip the floss into toothpaste and then gently saw flosser down between teeth and rub each side of tooth, add paste every third tooth. Teenagers find flossers easier to use too and more likely to do it every night which is the optium time to floss.
If in braces, the child needs to brush 3 times a day: morning, after school and bedtime, as children wearing braces are 4x more likely to get cavities due to all the brackets and wires where food can accumulate.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.
If in braces, expanders, retainers, the child needs to brush 3 times a day:
- after school
- bedtime: Brush teeth, waterpik orthodontic brackets, PhosFlur Fluoride Rinse.
Children wearing braces are 4x more likely to get cavities due to all the brackets and wires where food can accumulate. Often the gums become very inflamed with the ortho treatment and plaque buildup that gingivitis (bleeding gums) start. The gums can become so inflamed that they begin to swell and overgrow the brackets. Some children need expensive gum surgery after ortho is finished to restore a normal gumline.
We highly recommend the use of a waterpik (see website) there is portable model: WP-460 and a new smaller child counter-top model to flush the braces, expanders, or retainers at least once a day, preferable in the evening to remove all the food prior to bedtime.