How To Help Your Child Brush and Floss Their Teeth

Did you know that cavities and other dental health problems are one of the most common reasons behind school absences among children in the U.S.? 


Data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that over 52% of children between six and eight years old have had cavities. Additionally, around one in five kids between five and 11 years old have at least one untreated decayed tooth.


Although dental cavities are a prevalent issue, the good news is that they are also easily preventable. The key lies in teaching your children the right way to brush and floss their teeth, coupled with reinforcing the importance of good oral hygiene habits. 


How To Brush Teeth Properly 


Choosing the right toothbrush is a crucial first step. Make sure your child has a toothbrush that is comfortable, easy for them to use, and the right size. A small brush with soft bristles and a large handle for easy grip generally works best for children. 

Brushing teeth isn’t complicated. Start teaching your kids with these steps: 

  • Apply a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to the toothbrush. 
  • Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, facing the gums. 
  • Move the brush back and forth in gentle, short, circular motions. 
  • Use tooth-wide strokes, covering all teeth surfaces — the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth. 
  • Make sure to brush the front and back of the teeth, as well as the molars. 


With children, you can make tooth brushing a fun activity by using a timer or a brushing song to help ensure they brush for at least two minutes. Join your kids in brushing to demonstrate the proper technique and assist them until they master it on their own. 


How To Floss Teeth Correctly 


Flossing plays a vital role in maintaining dental hygiene as it removes food particles lodged between teeth where a toothbrush cannot easily reach. Introducing children to flossing can begin as soon as two of their teeth touch each other, usually around ages two to six. 

Here’s how to help teach your child flossing: 

  • Select a dental floss that is comfortable for your child to use. There are various types of floss available, including waxed, unwaxed, flavored, and tape-style floss. 
  • Measure around 18 inches or 1.5 feet of floss. Wrap about three-fourths of it around the third or middle fingers of your kid’s dominant hand. 
  • Wrap the remaining floss around the finger of their other hand — this hand will keep the used floss out of the way. 
  • Help your child use their thumb and pointer fingers to hold the floss firmly, leaving about an inch to use. 
  • Carefully show your child how to move the floss in gentle back and forth motions to get it between their teeth. 
  • Gently pull the floss against the side of the tooth, sliding it back and forth into the space below the gum line. 
  • With the floss against the tooth, slowly rub in up-and-down motions. 


Teach your child to do this with every single tooth — not just the front teeth — making sure to floss both sides of each tooth. More importantly, remember to use fresh sections of floss as you progress to avoid reinsertion of the food particles. 


The Importance of Dental Care and Good Oral Hygiene 


The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be overstated, particularly for children. Establishing these habits early on can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to more serious health problems later in life. Moreover, it also helps instill a lifelong commitment to good oral hygiene. 


Aside from brushing and flossing, remember that good oral hygiene also involves having a balanced diet and regular dental care. 


Regular dental check-ups are important as these can help spot potential issues early and ensure professional cleaning. It is generally recommended to take your child to a pediatric dentist every six months. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to handle children’s dental issues and temperament and can better provide preventive dental care or treat problems at an early stage. 


Protect Your Kids’ Teeth with Bay Area Kids Dentist 


A consistent routine of proper dental care can go a long way in protecting your child’s teeth from cavities. If you are looking for a board-certified and trusted pediatric dentist in the Bay Area, look no further than Bay Area Kids Dentist. 


With four convenient locations across the Bay Area, our team of experienced and caring pediatric dentists can readily accommodate and provide top-notch dental care for your child. 


Contact us today to book an appointment at your nearest clinic.