Pediatric Dentistry of Suffolk County I & II
Commack (631) 486-6364
Medford (631) 320-0880
Although it seems simple, not many people know the proper way to brush or floss their teeth, let alone their children’s! As a result, this uncertainty can cause parents to show their children how to take care of their teeth incorrectly. Do you think you know the proper way to brush and floss you and your child’s teeth? Let’s see!
Starting at birth, you should clean your child’s gums with a soft cloth and water. As soon as your child’s teeth start to show, begin brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush. For children under the age of two, only use a small “smear” of toothpaste. For children ages 2-5, use a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste! For the best results, use ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste and make sure your child knows not to swallow it.
The first rule of brushing your teeth is to keep the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle towards the gums. Next, use a gentle circular motion while brushing. Often, many people make the mistake of brushing back and forth or up and down, but this can actually damage your gums and teeth. Lastly, make sure to clean all surfaces of the teeth, including the front, back, and top, and always finish by brushing your tongue to remove any bacteria that could cause bad breath. And don’t forget – brushing should happen twice a day; once when you wake up and once before you go to bed!
Do you find a reason not to floss? Well, knowing how to might actually make you want to! Many dentists say that flossing is even more important than brushing when it comes to preventing gum disease and tooth loss. This is because flossing removes plaque between teeth and under gum lines where a toothbrush cannot reach. Keep in mind; flossing should begin when any two teeth begin to touch!
To floss properly, break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around your two middle fingers. Next, hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers with about an inch of floss in-between them. Gently guide the floss between teeth, but be sure not to jerk or snap floss into the gums because that can cause bleeding and damage. Finally, when the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against the tooth.
At Pediatric Dentistry of Suffolk County, our emphasis is total preventive care, which is why we educate our patients and their parents to ensure that good habits are practiced at home. We recommend supervising your children when brushing until they are around 7 or 8 years old. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us at (631) 486-6364for our Commack office or (631) 320-0880 for our Medford office!