Children under the age of 3
If a child is younger than age 3, parents should clean their child’s teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
3 and Up
After age 3, parents should supervise brushing. Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste while making sure your child doesn’t swallow excess toothpaste. Make the experience fun. Let your child pick out their own colourful toothbrush and then teach them how to brush using a doll or your own teeth.
How and When to Brush
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. Electric toothbrushes are ideal for children and adults who have difficulty with brushing.
When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Brush your teeth at least twice daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque. Good times to brush your teeth are:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Another good time to change your toothbrush is after you have gotten over an illness. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.
Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth. If you have difficulty managing the dental floss, try a flossing wand. They can be found at your local pharmacy and they make flossing easier.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.
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