Teeth Brushing & Flossing for Children − Louisville KY
Children need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with small heads and soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months.
Brushing & Flossing Instructions
American Dental Association studies have shown that NO child, until at least 10 years of age, has the ability to brush their teeth as well as an adult. Earlier studies had shown that no child could brush their teeth well enough until they could at least consistently write well in cursive. Remember, cursive handwriting is a 2-dimensional task… About 3rd-grade level and about 8 years of age. Brushing in 3 dimensions is much more difficult… To demonstrate, have your child wash your car and see how accurate they are around small nooks and crannies.
Dr. Ray‘s Policy is that all children need an adult to brush AND floss their teeth at least once per day until at least 9-10 years old. Sure, have them learn while brushing and flossing daily too. Flossing takes more fine motor skills and 3-dimensional perceptual-motor abilities than even brushing.
Instructions for brushing your child’s teeth:
- Hold the brush at a 45 degrees angle towards teeth and gums.
- Move the brush back and forth with short strokes, about a half tooth wide.
- Never try to brush top and bottom teeth together… You will miss the gum lines.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth.
- Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
- Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
- Floss between teeth daily.
When To Begin Brushing
Wipe infants’ gums before any teeth even appear to clean and massage their gums and to help them prepare for future regular teeth cleaning at bath time with a clean washcloth and clean water.
When teeth begin to appear, continue. As babies grow, and 3-4 teeth erupt, use an infant toothbrush, beginning to use a small, match-head-sized dab of toothpaste once they are about 1 1/2 years old. Do not let your child apply their own toothpaste… It is a drug and they can get too much toothpaste and/or fluoride, causing injury or even enamel damage to unerupted permanent teeth. Rule of thumb: “All children will swallow all toothpaste until they are about 5 years old.”
For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. It can also be a good idea to create a “tooth brushing routine”. And stick to the same routine each day.