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Anyone who is new to parenting or who is looking after a child temporarily may not know the best approach to brushing children's teeth. Compared to adult teeth, children's teeth require a delicate touch and a degree of supervision – at least until the children reach the age of about 11. If you want to know what you should be doing to ensure the child in your life is brushing his or her teeth correctly, then read on. Effective brushing should make all the difference the next time you go for a check-up with your family dentist and ensure that no fillings are required.
Brush Every Day
Some children simply don't brush their teeth frequently enough. Twice a day is what dentists recommend for all children and adults. However, it is even more important with kids to get into the twice-daily routine so that their teeth are not exposed to sugars for longer than they need to be. With smaller teeth with less protective enamel, children's teeth can decay more rapidly than you might think, so brushing twice – or even three times – a day is essential.
Brush With an Appropriate Tool
Soft-bristled toothbrushes are the best for children's teeth. If you use a hard-bristled one, then this can cause too much friction against a child's soft gum. Furthermore, adult-sized toothbrushes are not appropriate for kids because you won't be able to reach the back molars with them or brush along the side of teeth next to the cheek. Buy a toothbrush that is sized for the age of the child who will use it.
Don't Overdo Toothpaste
You do not need a lot of toothpaste to brush children's teeth effectively. A pea-sized blob of toothpaste is adequate. Ensure that this amount of toothpaste reaches all of the teeth by spending time brushing each one individually. When your child has too much toothpaste in his or her mouth, more will get swallowed than is pleasant, which puts kids off having their teeth brushed. Have them spit out and rinse once brushing is complete.
Take a Gentle Approach
Brushing children's teeth is not about scrubbing away residue like you might clean a dirty plate. It is about applying fluoride to their teeth's enamel to strengthen it against decay. Therefore, you should not be pushing hard. Soft, circular motions with the brush bristles are all that is required. Angle the toothbrush so that you gently brush the gums as well as the tooth and avoid an abrasive approach that can cause damage to soft tissues.
For more information and tips, talk with your family dentist.