The basics of taking care of your teeth include the following: brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. Some children accumulate plaque and tartar faster than others; for these patients we may recommend coming for an "in-between" cleaning at 3 months instead of waiting for the 6-month mark. Also, if your child has orthodontic appliances, we can demonstrate different techniques using orthodontic-specific tools to help keep their teeth and braces clean.
When you can’t brush 3x/day, follow the rule of 2's!! Everyone should be brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Make sure to brush all three surfaces of every tooth: front, back, and the chewing surface. While brushing the front and back, don't forget to angle the bristles of the toothbrush toward the gum line and move it around in small gentle circles. In some cases, an electric or battery-operated toothbrush can help those children who may not have the dexterity to complete effective brushing, or those undergoing orthodontic treatment. Toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors as well as fluoride and fluoride-free - ask your dentist what your child should be using!
If two of your teeth are touching, you must floss in between them! Young children will need a parent to help get this done. Glide the floss below the contact point and scrape up against one side of the tooth and repeat, scraping up against the second side. Ideally, flossing should be done after each meal, but at least once a day, preferably in the evening after dinner. It is common for younger children to have spaces between all their baby teeth - so no flossing required yet! However, as one gets older, those spaces tend to close so beware and get ready to floss! Try the floss sticks, they're way easier!
We recommend a fluoride mouthwash in the evenings right before bed as part of your nighttime routine. Swish it around in your mouth for about one minute, spit it into the sink, and go straight to bed. No swallowing and no rinsing with water afterwards! We want a tiny amount of the fluoride mouthwash to stay on your teeth while you sleep. For those children that would swallow, please refrain until good spitting can be done routinely. These mouthwashes come in a variety of flavors, as well as alcohol and alcohol-free. For the younger child, stick to alcohol-free. In children undergoing orthodontic treatment, rinsing with fluoride can be very beneficial.