Brushing and flossing regularly is as important for children as it is for adults. While dentists recommend that children begin flossing as soon as their teeth are close enough together to touch, which usually happens between the ages of two and six for most children, the average child doesn’t master the technique until about age 10.
Supervising your children while they brush and floss every day, and taking them to the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings will help ensure they’re brushing and flossing correctly, while also establishing good oral hygiene habits they can carry into adulthood.
At Oasis Pediatric Dental Care and Orthodontics, our pediatric dentist and orthodontist, Dr. Nathalie Phaeton and Dr. Ki Youn Kil, respectively, and the rest of our team offer a range of pediatric dentistry services at our office in Falls Church, Virginia.
How to make sure your child is brushing and flossing correctly
Every child is different and develops at their own pace, so your child may need more or less supervision when they brush and floss their teeth depending on their own development and circumstances. One of the most important factors is to establish a routine, and ensure they brush their teeth after meals if possible, and floss at least once every day.
In fact, it’s never too early to start taking care of your child’s oral health. The first tooth usually erupts around six months, at which point you can start to gently brush each tooth after meals (or at least twice a day). Before the first tooth erupts, you can gently wipe their gums with a clean washcloth after they eat.
In general, the “rules” and technique for correctly brushing and flossing are the same for children as adults:
- Use a toothbrush they can comfortably hold in their hand and position at an angle to reach every tooth
- Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste
- Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle
- Use a vertical up-and-down motion to brush the front teeth
- Use short strokes to make sure the back teeth are getting clean
- Gently scrub the tongue to remove bacteria
Try to have fun and encourage them so they’ll look forward to brushing and flossing, rather than thinking of it as a chore.
Your child’s first visit and yearly dental appointments are the perfect times to ask questions and get support for your child’s oral hygiene and health needs. Our team can demonstrate correct brushing and flossing techniques, and make your child feels as comfortable as possible.
It’s never too early to establish good oral hygiene and health habits. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child’s next dental checkup and cleaning, and to learn more about the pediatric dentistry services we have available.