Brushing your child’s teeth is a necessary part of every daily routine, and while adequate teeth brushing techniques include brushing in small strokes at a 45-degree angle, there is more to take into consideration when taking proper care of your child’s teeth.
How Often and How Long
Your child’s teeth should be brushed at least twice a day: once in the morning and once at night, but a child’s teeth would ideally be brushed three times a day. Brushing before breakfast and after dinner is the best times when brushing only twice. Brushing should last for about two minutes. Diving teeth into four parts: upper left front and back, upper right front and back, lower left front and back, and lower right front and back and brushing each section for 30 seconds is a great way to manage that time.
When to Start
Some parents believe that the best age to start brushing their child’s teeth is when the child is about 12-months old, but the best time to introduce your child to a toothbrush is when their teeth first begin to erupt because even baby teeth need thorough care. It is, however, recommended that even before teeth begin to sprout you take time to wipe your infant’s gums at least twice a day.
What to Use
A soft and moist cloth or gauze should be used to gently wipe the mouth and gums of infants. Children should use toothbrushes made specifically for kids until they are ready to use an adult toothbrush around the age of 9 or 10. Toothbrushes should have soft bristles as gum irritation can occur when using toothbrushes with firmer bristles.
The Toothpaste Debate
A small smear of age-appropriate toothpaste should be used to brush your child’s teeth as soon as teeth begin to emerge. For children ages 3 to 6, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used as there are more teeth to clean. While some parents may opt to use a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, fluoride toothpaste is recommended as fluoride helps strengthen teeth and prevent decay.