The best way to keep your child’s teeth clean is through the same basic method that you should follow—brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate, which will later turn into plaque, leading to decay. Good dental hygiene will help your child avoid these issues.

Brushing

To brush your child’s teeth, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste, unless the child is under the age of three. If your child is younger than three, parents should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and water. Once old enough for toothpaste, be sure to supervise and assist in brushing, ensuring that no toothpaste is swallowed and that all areas are brushed.

To brush the teeth, move the toothbrush in small, circular motions, reaching food particles that could be lying under the gum line. Hold the toothbrush and a slight angle, and move slowly and carefully, covering everything between the teeth and the surface of each tooth. Brush upward on the lower teeth, downward on the lower teeth, and on the inside of all the front and back teeth. To brush the teeth thoroughly and properly, it should take you several minutes.

Brushing the teeth after every meal and before bedtime helps to keep your child’s teeth healthy.

Be sure to replace your child’s toothbrush as soon as the bristles begin to wear down.

Flossing

The toothbrush is a fantastic tool for oral hygiene, but it can’t do it all. Dental floss helps get into those hard to reach areas to remove food particles and plaque. Floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon which can get below the gum line to clean between the teeth.

To floss, pull a small length from the dispenser, wrapping it around the ends of your middle fingers. Next, guide the floss between each tooth, all the way to the gum line. As you move along, pull out clean floss.

The best time to floss is before your child goes to sleep. It’s likely that your child’s teeth will bleed a little when beginning to floss. This is perfectly normal. However, alert your dentist if the bleeding persists after the first few sessions.