Teaching your children proper oral care is essential for a healthy life. Brushing and flossing their teeth is very important and should be done three times a day after every meal. Just a simple routine of brushing and flossing, in addition to regular dental checkups, can be enough in most cases to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. A balanced diet is also essential for your child to develop strong, resistant teeth. It is important that your children kids brush with a non-fluoride toothpaste (such as Dr. Sharp Natural Wild Berry Kids Toothpaste, which is free of fluoride, SLS, parabens, alcohol and gluen). Parents must read the warning label on generic toothpastes sold over the counter and avoid toothpastes with harsh warning labels like this one:
Remember to pack nutritional lunches packed with vitamins and essential nutrients and remember to follow these simple oral care tips and techniques for optimal dental care.
Tooth brushing tips and technique:
Here are a few tips to help you develop a good brushing routine:
- Use soft or extra soft toothbrush when brushing your teeth. Small-headed toothbrushes are recommended since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth.
- Brush three times a day (ideally after every main meal).
- Proper brushing takes at least two minutes. Time yourself when doing your tooth brushing.
- Use a gentle touch – it doesn’t take much pressure to remove the biofilm (bacterial plaque) from your teeth, and a forceful brushing could irritate your gums.
- Electric toothbrushes can aid in applying an adequate amount of pressure when brushing, particularly for those who have difficulty doing it, who are wearing braces and who have limited manual dexterity.
- Brushing your tongue gently can help remove bacteria that cause halitosis (bad breath) by using a tongue cleaner.
- Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 months since the bristles wear away.
- Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth.
- Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth.
- Clean the chewing surfaces.
- Place your brush at a slight angle toward the gums when brushing along the gum line.
- Concentrate on cleaning all the surfaces of the teeth.
- Make sure to brush your tongue.
The importance of flossing:
Cleaning between your teeth is every bit as important as brushing.
- Since brushing can’t effectively clean between teeth, it’s important to use floss to get to those areas in order to mechanically remove the biofilm (bacterial plaque) that forms in between your teeth.
- Flossing removes food particles and biofilm (bacterial plaque) between teeth that brushing misses. You should floss for your children beginning at age 4. By the time they reach age 8, most kids can begin flossing for themselves. (Source: American Dental Association)
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- As with brushing, use a gentle touch to avoid injuring your gum tissue.
For more information about brushing/flossing techniques visit the American Dental Association website www.ada.org.
These tips have been provided by Dr. Luciana Ravazzi (Prosthodontic Dentistry of South Florida)
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