You have probably heard fellow parents talk about how their children have brushed their teeth on their own since they were a toddler. Are their children really brushing their teeth efficiently and effectively? Are they really old enough to be trusted to brush their teeth on their own?
Growing Into Independent Oral Health Care
Every child develops differently, at different times. Some children have the manual dexterity to brush on the front, back, and biting surfaces of their teeth earlier than others. While there really is no “magical” age for a child to begin brushing on their own, a good time frame to start trying is between the ages of 6 and 9 years old. About the time they can tie their shoes on their own.
Always Follow-Up Behind Them
It is very important for parents to learn brushing and flossing instructions from a dental hygienist. Parents can then teach their children how to brush their teeth and supervise them as they learn how to brush on their own. While supervising, parents can ensure that their children are gently brushing all of the tooth surfaces that can be reached by a toothbrush.
Daily brushing is a part of good dental hygiene but brushing only reaches most of the tooth surfaces. Along with brushing each day, parents should also be flossing their children’s teeth to help remove the bacterial biofilm that is located between the teeth which is located on surfaces that a toothbrush can’t reach.
When parents floss their children’s teeth, they are helping to fight gum disease and cavities between the teeth. Parental supervision is required until the child displays the proper brushing and flossing techniques on their own.
Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
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