Establishing a dental hygiene routine, including teaching your child how to brush and floss correctly, is one of the best ways to prevent cavities and tooth decay, according to the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Aside from improving your child’s breath, a comprehensive dental hygiene plan also prevents the buildup of plaque, a sticky substance that is caused by the secretions of bacteria. The safest way to remove plaque from your child’s teeth is to teach him how to properly brush and floss.
Encourage your child to brush his teeth at least twice a day -- once in the morning and again right before bed. Choose an age-appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste that features fluoride. According to the American Dental Association, children age 2 and older only require a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Show your child how to brush his teeth effectively. The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends teaching your child to brush his teeth gently in a circular motion. Instruct your child to start at the back teeth and work his way toward the front. Your child should concentrate on the gum line, as this is where plaque tends to build.
Teach your child how to floss his teeth, rubbing the floss gently up and down and keeping it pressed against the tooth. Don't forget those back teeth! You may need to help your child get to those hard-to-reach areas. According to the ADA, children are ready to floss once they grow two teeth that touch. If you’re unsure how to floss, the ADA recommends asking a dentist or dental hygienist to demonstrate the proper procedure.
Schedule an appointment for your child with the dentist at least twice a year. The dentist can examine your child’s teeth to determine any problem areas, such as plaque buildup he’s missing.
Items you will need
- Toothpaste with fluoride
- Encourage your child to concentrate more attention on the back teeth and molars, as according to WebMD, these are more prone to plaque buildup and cavities.
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