Brushing Basics: Passing good brushing techniques on to your kids

on November 20, 2013
To encourage good brushing habits, we recommend brushing with your children.

To encourage good brushing habits, we recommend brushing with your children.

As an adult, you are probably pretty sure you know how to brush your teeth correctly. After all, you have been doing it for years and years. Even after all these years of brushing your teeth “correctly” you may be surprised that you may have missed a simple step. If your children are just learning how to brush their teeth, take the time to bone up on your tooth brushing skills while you teach them proper brushing techniques.

Setting up a good routine

The first step in teaching brushing basics is to help your younger children. The best way for children to learn how to brush properly is for their parents, siblings and other family members to brush with them. By showing your children that you follow proper brushing habits, you can help impress upon them the importance of incorporating a good oral hygiene routine. Use a timer or song to make teeth brushing time a fun family event. You can always check your App Store for a toothbrush timing app for your kids. There are several on the market to help making brushing fun.

If you have a young child who wants to brush their own teeth, let them. They may miss some spots, but if you brush your teeth at the same time you can make a game of checking each other’s teeth afterwards. They can clean any spots you “missed”, and you can do the same for them.

Brush for the right length of time

You have probably heard it many times from your dentist: brush for two minutes, twice a day. Without a timer, you may not realize that you are not brushing long enough. The website offers videos for brushing along with. These videos are each two minutes long and can help to make brushing more fun for kids. To ensure that you are brushing for the right length of time, brush along with your favorite song. Most songs on the radio are about two minutes long – some are even longer. Take the extra time to ensure you and your kids are brushing two minutes twice a day and your teeth will thank you!

Brush at the right time

The best time to brush is after you eat to get the food particles off your teeth before too much acid damage is done. However, if you have a very sugary snack or beverage that you consume over a longer period of time, then it is best to wait 30 minutes before brushing to let your mouth’s pH return to normal. Brushing when you have an acidic pH in your mouth may lead to more damage being caused by erosion. Sometimes it is not always possible for kids to brush at school after lunch. In this case, encouraging brushing in the morning and before they go to bed will help them better protect their teeth. It is especially important for your children to use fluoride toothpaste, as it helps rebuild any damage done by acid erosion throughout the day. We do not recommend using fluoride toothpaste for children under the age of six as they may swallow it.

Use proper brushing techniques

By modeling proper brushing techniques for your children you can ensure that you both are brushing properly. Make sure you place your brush at a 45 degree angle and gently brush your teeth in an elliptical motion. Brush the inside and outside of your teeth as well as the chewing surfaces and your tongue. To ensure that you are brushing all of your teeth equally, spend 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth. Watch your child to verify that they are not using a back and forth motion or brushing too hard, as these actions cause your gum tissue to recede.

Working with your child to establish proper brushing techniques and routines will help your child to protect their teeth for their lifetime. Also, good oral hygiene practices result in more pleasant dental experiences, as good home care goes a long way towards a healthy mouth. If you have any questions about your brushing habits, or your child’s brushing habits, contact our Evanston dental office. We’d be more than happy to help you create the building blocks for good oral hygiene.

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