Toothbrushing in children
Good oral hygiene should begin early in children. Parents of young infants should clean the child's mouth with gauze or a cloth after meals and again before bed. It is recommended that babies be brought to the dentist when their first tooth emerges, so that your dentist can teach you the appropriate steps to good oral hygiene for your child.
Children need a slightly different technique to adults when brushing their teeth. Their toothbrush should be softer and they should only use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to ensure that they don't swallow too much. Ingestion of too much fluoride could lead to the development of white speckles on the teeth, known as fluorosis.
Because they have limited dexterity, children should scrub their teeth using small circular motions. They should brush their teeth twice a day, after breakfast and before bed.
It is important that you supervise your child when they are doing this, especially when they are under the age of eight or until they can completely dress themselves. As with adults, splayed and worn toothbrushes should be replaced about every three months to ensure that they achieve the best out of their efforts.
You should try to explain to your child the benefits of brushing their teeth and make it a fun event rather than a chore. There are many 'fun' toothbrushes and pastes available which can help to encourage your child to brush their teeth.
It may also help to educate them about the harmful sugary foods and drinks that can cause tooth decay and to restrict the amount of these they eat. Starting good habits such as brushing and flossing early will help your children to maintain healthy oral hygiene that lasts a lifetime.
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