Do Your Children Know How to Brush and Floss?
February is Children’s Dental Health Month and a fitting time to remind families of the importance of good oral health. Children can be effective partners in a dental hygiene routine if they know how to brush and floss. Consistent at-home care is important for maintaining healthy teeth and it’s never too early to start.
It’s not just children. Many people do not know how to effectively clean their teeth – it’s a habit that has to be learned. Children benefit when the whole family embraces the routine and practice together. Here are some tips for how to brush and floss:
Proper teeth brushing should take at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! That’s 30 seconds for each quadrant of your mouth. Use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline and hard-to-reach back teeth. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section. If you use an electric toothbrush with an interval timer, you can easily keep track of the sections. If you’re not sure how to brush your teeth, ask your hygienist for tips that will improve your technique. Set a goal of brushing twice a day.
As any first-timer knows, flossing is not as easy as it looks. However, learning how to floss properly is basic for good oral hygiene. Flossing is the backup to your toothbrush. It cleans the tight spaces in between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Proper flossing helps keep your teeth healthy and beautiful for years to come. Floss once a day. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing before you go to bed at night.
Early Habits for a Healthy Smile
Teaching children how to brush and floss requires patience and active home care routines that are fun for the whole family. Guidelines that are specialized for children help them learn techniques for effective brushing and flossing. More parents are turning to dental apps to attract the attention of their techie children.
Ask your dentist or hygienist to show your young children how to brush and floss. Then keep track on a daily basis. The brushing goal is 2 minutes 2 times each day. Add to that a daily flossing routine and see the benefits that will help establish a lifelong habit.
Remember, healthy teeth make a healthy smile!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. He and his staff will work with your family to learn how to brush and floss the most effective way. Schedule your appointment soon.