Here's How to Brush and Floss Properly

Here's How to Brush and Floss Properly

Good oral hygiene is paramount for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. It prevents dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. Brushing and flossing are the cornerstones of good oral hygiene, but it's surprising how many people don't do them correctly - especially children. 

The team at My Kidz Dentist in Phoenix, Arizona, often sees patients who need guidance about proper brushing and flossing techniques. 

Here’s how to brush and floss your teeth properly:

1. Start with the right toothbrush

First, select a soft-bristled, age-appropriate toothbrush. Hard bristles can damage gums and enamel. Children should use toothbrushes specifically designed for their age group as they have smaller heads and softer bristles suitable for young mouths. Electric toothbrushes can be more fun and effective than manual ones, but ensure you choose child-friendly versions.

2. Use fluoride toothpaste

Use a rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children under three years old. Increase the fluoride toothpaste to a pea-sized amount for kids from three to six years. 

Fluoride toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent decay. Caregivers should supervise children to ensure they don’t swallow the toothpaste.

3. Set a timer

Set a timer for at least two minutes for tooth brushing. Supervise and assist young children to ensure they are developing good brushing habits. Divide your mouth into four sections, and spend 30 seconds on each. This ensures that all surfaces of your teeth get attention. Teach children to brush gently using circular motions.

4. Use the correct technique

Teach your children to hold their toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to their gums. Use gentle, circular motions. Brush all the surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces. Don't forget to brush your tongue, as it can harbor bacteria.

5. Make brushing fun

Help make toothbrushing fun by giving children toothbrushes with their favorite characters on them, playing a song for two minutes to time them, or creating a reward system for consistent brushing.

6. Choose the right floss

There are many types of dental floss – waxed, unwaxed, thick, thin, etc. Use a soft, flexible floss that won’t hurt children’s tender gums. Floss picks or pre-threaded flossers are often easier for children and their caregivers to handle compared to regular floss.  Children may begin flossing as soon as they have at least two teeth that touch each other.

7. Be gentle

Glide the floss gently between the teeth using a rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums, which can damage the gum tissue. Caregivers should help or supervise children to show them how to move the floss up and down between teeth and curve it around each tooth.

8. Rinse after brushing and flossing

Rinse your mouth to remove dislodged food particles and plaque.

Keep up with regular dental appointments

Make sure that brushing and flossing become part of your child’s daily routine. Though it may seem time-consuming, the benefits for oral health are immense. No matter how well you brush and floss, regular check-ups with your dentist are crucial for maintaining oral health. During these visits, your dentist can identify and treat issues before they become serious problems.

Call our office, or schedule an appointment online to learn more.

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