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How to Teach Young Children to Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Teaching children proper dental hygiene is an important part of their development into healthy adults. Brushing, flossing and rinsing help prevent dental cavities and disease as well as tooth loss. Parents should teach good dental health by both demonstration and example; the family that brushes together smiles together.

The Baby Basics of Brushing:

1. Clean baby teeth twice daily with a soft washcloth or gauze pad as soon as teeth erupt. Baby tooth enamel is much thinner than adult enamel, and consistent cleaning will prevent cavities. Use water (up to age 2) or a small, pea-size drop of fluoride toothpaste. This will not only clean the teeth but provide a soothing sensation to gums that are inflamed during the teething process.

2. Floss teeth as soon as two teeth are touching each other. This will prevent bacteria from becoming trapped between teeth.

3. The American Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental appointment around their first birthday. This allows the dentist to check for problems and evaluate the hygiene regimen early on.

The Basics of Brushing for Ages 3-7:

1. Children over 3 years old should begin brushing their teeth themselves, using a soft child’s toothbrush. Instruct them to brush in a gentle circular motion, rinse thoroughly with water, and spit. They should be supervised by their parents until they are 6 or 7 years old. Children love to imitate adults, so brushing at this age could be a family activity, with parents demonstrating proper teeth-cleaning techniques.

2. Children should also begin flossing by themselves at age 3.

3. Replace toothbrushes every 6-12 months, with the toothbrush increasing in size according to the child’s age. Choose brushes with a small head and medium bristles.

Do a Plaque Attack

1. Occasionally check the effectiveness of your child’s hygiene routine with a “plaque attack.” Plaque is a white substance that develops when food mixed with bacteria and saliva clings to teeth and forms cavities. To see how much plaque remains on the teeth after brushing, mix in a paper cup three to four drops of red food coloring into 2 tablespoons of water . Swish around in the mouth for 10 seconds. Spit it into the sink, but do not rinse. Use a magnifying or regular mirror to find the red spots of plaque. Brush these away, and note the areas where the initial brushing failed to remove the plaque.

2. After age 7, direct supervision is not as necessary, but parents should periodically watch their children brushing to be sure bad habits haven’t begun.

3. Dental appointments every 6 months should be a family priority to ensure healthy teeth and gums.

Read more: How to Teach Young Children to Practice Good Oral Hygiene | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5619605_teach-practice-good-oral-hygiene.html#ixzz1QdFuF21I