As adults, brushing our teeth is so second nature that most of us do it without being fully awake yet! We all have a routine we develop, and instilling that routine into our children is critical to their success—literally!
But, is your routine, and the one you’re teaching your children, the correct one? Brush up on your skills (no pun intended) with us in this blog entry to help pass along proper brushing techniques to your little ones!
Time is on Your Side
Two to three times a day is the general recommendation for brushing your teeth. Ensure that you and your child are brushing for at least two minutes each time, hitting all the proper areas listed below.
Brushing too often is a real thing, though. Any more than three times and the enamel of you and your child’s teeth will slowly deteriorate over time. In this instance, there is definitely too much of a good thing. Electric toothbrushes can really help in this area, but you can read more about that debate here.
Wax On, Wax Off
The proper way to brush your teeth is by holding the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and make an up-and-down motion using exclusively short strokes. Wide, side-to-side strokes can scrape along your gum line.
Brush outer and inner tooth surfaces, back molars, and your tongue. Be as thorough as possible—any place left untouched is a safe harbor for plaque buildup and cavities.
Switch Things Up
Do you or your child always start brushing your teeth in the same place? Switch up where you begin brushing to avoid getting lazy and missing other parts of your mouth. And keep track of what you’re doing, where you’ve been, and what areas you need to hit before finishing.
Passing along these traits to your child will help keep them attentive to their teeth, rather than mechanically performing the ritual in front of the mirror every morning and night.
Avoid Sour and Acidic Drinks and Foods
Is your child prone to drinking energy drinks, sodas, or eating sour candies? We all know these items are bad for you overall, but letting them do so before or after a brushing is highly inadvisable. These items are acidic and can soften the enamel to a dangerous degree.
Even healthy items like apple juice and orange juice are highly acidic. Allow for at least a half-hour lag time before letting your little one partake in these items.
Out with the Old, in with the New
How old is your toothbrush? If it’s older than three or four months, the ADA suggests you are due a new one.
Paying close attention to the bristles of you and your child’s toothbrushes is a good indicator of when it’s an appropriate time to dispose of it. Once normal flexibility of the bristles is lost, or they become frayed and/or broken, replace it.