Friday, July 20, 2012

How To Brush Your Child's Teeth

Dr. Eric Johnson can do a lot for your children's teeth (come in and ask us for a complete breakdown sometime if you're curious) but obviously the parents are the ultimate decider of their children's oral health. But some parents are honestly not sure how to perform basic oral maintenance -- or worse, they think they know, but they're missing a vital step or two. So here's a simple routine for proper tooth-brushing that anyone can follow.

A Simple Guide to Brushing
  • The vast majority of damage to the teeth happens while you sleep. It takes a while after the mouth is disturbed for bacteria to settle down and start doing damage, and during the day, we eat often enough that the bacteria doesn't settle down that much. This means that the two most important times to brush your teeth are immediately before going to bed and immediately upon waking up.
  • Each tooth has 5 surfaces. Front and back of the tooth. The tongue side or inside of he tooth. The facial side of the tooth or the surface that people can see and then the chewing surface or the incisal edge on the front teeth. There are 20 teeth as a child. Ten teeth on the top and ten teeth on the bottom. There are 32 teeth including the wisdom teeth as an adult. Sixteen teeth on the top and sixteen teeth on the bottom.
  • When you brush, you should use a small amount of toothpaste, and you should brush each surface in your mouth for a minimum of 3 seconds. That's a total of 20 seconds worth of brushing.
  • Brushing should be done in a circular motion, not just straight back and forth. Going straight back and forth doesn't get the bristles in the cracks between the teeth; a little vertical motion helps get that taken care of.
  • If you don't have a tongue scraper, you should brush your tongue for 3 seconds as well.
One final note: Limit highly acidic drinks like Coca-Cola. Ideally eliminating sodas from a child's diet is the best plan. The acid weakens the enamel.

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