Brushing & Flossing Instructions
Good oral hygiene removes bacteria, plaque, and left-over food particles that combine to create cavities. The enamel on baby teeth is not as thick as adult teeth, therefore children need extra care to avoid decay.
Parents, as consistent role models, are key for setting a daily routine and to making their children understand the importance of oral hygiene. Tooth brushing and flossing should be presented as a habit and an integral part of the daily hygiene routine.
For infants, use a clean wet washcloth to wipe the plaque from their gums. Once your child’s teeth erupt, brush them at least twice a day with a non-fluoridated toothpaste. A pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used after the child is old enough NOT to swallow it.
When teaching your child to brush, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, start along the gum line with a soft bristle brush in a gentle circular motion.
- Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the chewing surface
- For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue too
Brush 2min 2x/day
Use a timer or check out brushing apps that are available for portable devices. Quality in brushing is key, so stay in front of the mirror to keep focused.
Supervise your child’s brushing. Parents should brush after the child until they are able to tie their own shoes.
Everyone should have their own toothbrush. Do not share! Replace when worn or every three months.
You should start flossing your children’s teeth even when they have only their baby (primary) teeth. Once a child’s teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of two and six, parents should start to get their children in the habit of flossing daily. As they develop dexterity, you can help them learn to floss. Children usually develop the ability to floss on their own around 8-10 years of age.
To stress the importance of flossing, do it for them regularly until they are able to do it themselves. This will help them develop a good habit of flossing while they still have their baby teeth so that when their permanent teeth come in, they already have flossing worked into their daily oral routine. Use floss that is soft and flexible so that it doesn’t hurt their teeth and is comfortable on their gums. Flosser picks are sometimes easier for kids to use.
How to Brush and Floss with Braces
- Brush after breakfast, when you get home from school and before bedtime using only a soft bristle toothbrush
- Use a dampened brush with a pea-size amount of toothpaste
- Use a circular motion around the gum area (above the bracket on the top and below the bracket on the bottom) 10 seconds per tooth
- Brush slowly, each arch separately
- Brush the lower teeth up and the upper teeth down. Don’t forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth too
- Floss nightly prior to brushing using a floss threader and unwaxed floss
- Carefully pull threader with floss under wire between tooth. Carefully floss around the gum area on each side of tooth. Repeat on each tooth top and bottom
- Waterpik® Water Flossers are an easier and less time consuming alternative to traditional flossing