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Teaching Your Kids to Brush

Standing on her little chair, Megan is brushing her teeth vigorously from side to side for few seconds.  Her mouth full with foam she begins to spit, then rinses with water twice before jumping down.  Does this scenario familiar to you?  Almost all kids believe that the harder the brushing and the more foam created, the cleaner their teeth will be.  Alas, they think not!

Kids lack proper brushing skills, that is why parents must guide their kids through the brushing process and emphasize the role of correct brushing in preventing dental problems.

Choose the Right Toothbrush First

The toothbrush is the most common method for removing plaque from the oral cavity. Most toothbrushes manufactured today with synthetic (Nylon) bristles, brushes are identified as soft, medium or hard based on the width of these bristles. Soft brush is preferable for kids because it decreases the incidence of gingival or gum trauma (Gum trauma) and increases the inter-proximal cleansing ability.

Keep in mind that no single brush design has been scientifically proved superior for plaque removal. It's the action of the brushing that will make the most difference.
Brushing Techniques

There are many brushing techniques advocated over the years for children, here are the 4 famous ones:

Charter Method

The end of the bristles is placed in contact with the enamel of the teeth and the gingiva, with the bristles pointed at about 45-degree angle toward the plane of occlusion. A lateral and downward pressure is then placed on the toothbrush and the brush is vibrated gently back and forth, a millimeter or so.

Horizontal Scrubbing  Method

The brush is placed horizontally on buccal and lingual surfaces and moved back and forth with a scrubbing motion--this form of brushing may be detrimental to new teeth and can leave a horizontal damage on the teeth if too vigorous a motion is used.

Modified Stillman Method

This is a combination of vibratory action of the bristles with stroke movement of the brush in the long axis of the teeth. The brush is placed on the line where the gingiva is in contact with the tooth, the bristles pointed away from the crown and the brush is then moved with stroking motion along both the gingiva and the tooth surface.

4-Roll Method

The brush is placed in the vestibule and the bristles ends directed apically with the sides of the bristles touching the gingival tissues, lateral pressure is exerted with sides of the bristles and the brush is moved up and down over the teeth. The brush is placed again high in the vestibule and the rolling motion is repeated. The lingual area (back area) is brushed in the same way.

Brushing for 2-3 minutes is sufficient in any method your child is comfortable with. However brushing alone does not remove food between the teeth, dental floss helps removing food remnants ensuring high oral hygiene. There are many kinds of dental flosses suitable for children in the market.

When Should My Child Start Flossing?

When your kids teeth begin to come in contact with each other, this usually takes place in the back teeth first.  Children flossing?  It should happen as soon as there are teeth and the process is understood.

Dental floss comes in different diameters, they are waxed or un-waxed, flavored or unflavored, thin, tap or mesh work. Generally the waxed floss is preferable by many patients as it slides easily and is more gum-friendly. Use of the dental floss must always be under parental supervision or performed by parents since young children could choke on remnants of the floss.

Remember, any correct brushing technique that ensures high oral hygiene for your child and keeps his teeth and gums healthy is sufficient.  If they develop a new technique, you can name it after your kids!

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