Regular tooth brushing is a primary oral care activity without which good and proper oral hygiene are not possible. While you probably understand the importance of utilising correct brushing techniques and protocols, you may not be aware of the other tips that will help to encourage your children in the maintenance of this habit.
To brush effectively, tell your child to hold the brush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line, before brushing gently in small circular motion. Divide the teeth into four quadrants and systematically brush each quadrant before moving onto the next, so that you won’t leave out any tooth. Brush gently for at least two minutes each session.
Like most things in life, the importance of practising regular oral hygiene is better taught through action than words. When you take the time to look after your own teeth and gums, it sends a powerful message to your children about the value of oral health.
In fact, it is recommended that adults brush their teeth together with the young ones at least twice a day – once in the morning and another time just before bedtime – for two minutes at a time. When you take the effort and discipline to do this regularly, you would be surprised by how much your children will appreciate these little moments and how much they would learn from the daily experience.
The main goal of cleaning our teeth is not to get rid of food debris but to remove the plaque and bacteria. How can you tell if your child is doing an adequate job brushing his or her teeth? By letting your child chew plaque-disclosing tablets after brushing, then smearing the crunched up bits around their teeth with their tongues, you will be able to tell their actual cleaning results. The vegetable dye in the tablets will show you where the plaque still lingers on their teeth so that your child can adjust their brushing techniques or protocols accordingly.
This may not sound like a big deal to you but given the fact that children do not get to make too many decisions at this stage in their lives, it can be a big deal to them. This will not only give them a sense of ownership, they will also feel more obliged to accept the brushing activity having “participated” in the toothbrush decision-making process. With their own special toothbrush, perhaps adorned with their favourite comic character, they may also be more motivated to brush their teeth.
You can keep track of your children’s brushing routines by drawing up a motivational chart. Each time they complete their oral hygiene tasks, they earn a star. An accumulation of a certain number of stars at the end of 3 months may be exchanged for rewards and special treats. This will not only motivate them to brush with more enthusiasm, it will help create an atmosphere of lighthearted fun and instil in them a positive attitude towards the brushing activity.
If you’re still confused or need a dentist to show your children the correct brushing techniques, please contact Sydney CBD Dental at (02) 9232 3900.