Preventive dental care is important throughout life, especially at a young age. By practicing good oral hygiene at home and scheduling regular checkups with the dentist, your child will help keep their smile healthy. Here are a few simple ways to prevent the build-up of plaque and cavities:
- Make sure your child brushes at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use fluoride toothpaste to remove food particles and plaque from the tooth surfaces. Also be sure your child brushes the top surface of the tongue; this will remove any extra plaque-causing food particles and help keep their breath fresh! (Click for Brushing Instructions.)
- Floss once a day. Floss and mouthwash will help remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line. (Click for Flossing Instructions.)
- Make sure your child eats a balanced diet, and try to avoid extra-sugary treats. Nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, and fruit will help keep your child's teeth healthy.
- Remember to schedule regular checkups with your child’s dentist every six months for a professional teeth cleaning.
- Ask your dentist about dental sealants. Sealants are a protective plastic coating that can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often starts.
- Use a Mouthguard. If your child plays sports, be sure to ask your dentist about mouthguards designed to protect your child’s teeth.
- Brushing Instructions
Brushing: Step 1
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.
Brushing: Step 2
Brush gently in a circular motion.
Brushing: Step 3
Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.
Brushing: Step 4
Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.
- Flossing Instructions
Flossing: Step 1
Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger.
Flossing: Step 2
Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.
Flossing: Step 3
Holding the floss tightly, gently saw it between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.
Flossing: Step 4
Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.