| | Toothbrushing Technique for Children
It is good idea to establish a daily routine for cleaning a child's teeth as soon as the teeth appear. We find that imitation is the best way to teach your children. If they see you brushing regularly, then mostly they will want to do the same. When they are babies they will want to chew a brush; this does not hurt and can provide some brushing action for the back teeth when they erupt; however, you will use a lot of Children's Toothbrushes. At this young age, just brush over the teeth with water; no toothpaste is required.
As they get older, when more teeth come through, and they are able to spit out, use a very small smear of low fluoride (Children's) toothpaste. Follow the general technique as for adults except that this is the time that emphasis should be given to the biting surfaces of the teeth as opposed to the inner and outer surfaces. Really, the younger they are the shorter the time available for brushing. Sometimes, 30 seconds is all you may have. Therefore, priorities should be given when brushing childrens teeth as follows:
- Firstly, the biting surfaces of baby molars should be brushed.
- Secondly, 6 year old permanent molars, as this is where we most commonly find decay.
- Thirdly, the outer and inner surfaces of baby molars, as the area between these molars is also a common area for decay.
- Lastly, the front teeth, as we find decay here much less likely than in other areas.
Plaque disclosing solutions show the child the areas that they are missing by highlighting the plaque remaining after brushing, and are a good follow-up every 6 months to make sure that all plaque is being removed. Toothbrushing should become a routine for the children, just like washing their hands. Try not to make it an emotional issue between parents and child, and approach it as a normal part of their routine. We strongly advise parents to take control of their childs brushing once per day to reinforce the above techniques, at least until they are 6 years old and often until they are 8. This is much better than the alternative (fillings), as unfortunately children do not have the concept of what will happen to their teeth if they are cleaned poorly.
Children should first attend the dentist at 4 or 5 years of age and thereafter on the recommendation of your dentist. If they have a low decay incidence then every 12 months is usually sufficient. If you have any other queries then please contact us at MDT Dental Surgery, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone (+612) 9908 3466.