As a father, my kids’ health is one of my top priorities. As a general family dentist, your kids’ dental health becomes one of my top priorities. My staff, many of whom are parents, and I have all fought (and hopefully succeeded) in the battle of getting the kids to brush their teeth.
Teaching children proper brushing habits sets a good foundation for a healthy mouth that will last a lifetime. Dental health is an important component of overall health, so it is important to know that the kiddos are brushing their teeth thoroughly, rather than just putting some toothpaste on a toothbrush and swishing it around for a few seconds.
The American Dental Association teaches proper teeth brushing in just five simple steps.
1. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
2. Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes.
3. Brush the outer surfaces, the inside surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of all teeth.
4. To clean the inside surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
5. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
Of course, your four-year-old is not going to know what a 45-degree angle is, but there is no better way to teach your kids than by example. Turn brushing time into a family affair until your kids have obviously gotten the hang of it. Using a timer is a great way to make sure your little one is brushing for long enough.
We recognize that teaching personal hygiene to your kids can be a process, but ensuring their future dental health is extremely important. Once they have mastered brushing their teeth, you can tackle flossing!