Brushing & Flossing

mom holding little baby son using toothbrush cleaning his teeth and teaching cute girl daughter

Pediatric Dental Care in Lynnwood, VA

At Alderwood Children’s Dentistry, we’re proud to provide world-class pediatric dental treatment in a warm, welcoming office environment. Our Lynnwood kids dentists work hard to design comprehensive treatment plans that help your child develop a beautiful smile in the long term, and we strive to maintain a positive environment that makes every visit a pleasant experience. But while the treatments we provide in our office are important, at-home oral hygiene is equally vital to a healthy smile – and it all starts with brushing and flossing.

How to Brush Teeth for Kids?

Brushing is a cornerstone of oral hygiene, and starting early is the best way to build healthy habits for a lifetime. If your child is under three years old, we’d recommend helping them brush their teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush and no toothpaste. Kids over three can likely brush on their own and should use a small dab of children’s fluoridated toothpaste. To brush your child’s teeth, follow these simple tips:

Start by using small circular motions to scrub the teeth and remove food particles and plaque Next, brush the front teeth with the brush at a 45º angle Thoroughly brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth, especially the molars Make sure to brush the gums and the back teeth, which are easy to miss Brush the inside surfaces of the upper and lower teeth Finally, gently brush the tongue and finish by having your child rinse with water.
It’s best to start brushing as soon as possible and to get your child used to a routine of brushing after each meal and once before bed. By starting early and sticking with this schedule, you’ll help your children build great oral hygiene habits that will help them for a lifetime!

Flossing for Kids

Brushing is important, but no oral hygiene regimen is complete without regular flossing. Flossing is vital for cleaning the spaces between teeth and along the gum line, where it’s easy for food particles to hide. Make sure to have your child floss once per day, preferably before bedtime, and to teach them proper flossing technique: Start with a small length of floss and wrap the ends around the index fingers of each hand Carefully slip the floss in between two teeth, gliding it all the way down to the gum line and wrapping the floss around each tooth to remove food and plaque Repeat this process for each gap between the teeth, and don’t forget to floss the back teeth, as well!

At first, you’ll have to floss your child’s teeth for them, but as they get older, you can teach them to floss on their own. Most kids should be flossing on their own by about age 10, although every child is different. Just like with brushing, it’s important to establish a routine of daily flossing early on and stick to it – this will make flossing a habit and promote good oral hygiene.

How to Make Brushing & Flossing Fun for Kids?

Finally, beyond using the right technique and routine, we always recommend that parents try to make brushing and flossing fun for their kids. It’s easy for oral hygiene to feel like a chore to kids, and if they dread brushing and flossing every night, they’re much less likely to keep up the routine. That’s why we recommend trying these tips to make brushing and flossing fun:

Make It Rewarding: Use a reward system so your child earns something for brushing and flossing every day. Give Them a Choice: Let your child pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste (so long as it’s approved by you). Giving them a choice like this will make them more invested in their dental hygiene. Try Technology: Download an app like Brush DJ, which uses fun songs to help you and your child brush for the perfect amount of time.

Contact Your Pediatric Dentist in Lynnwood & Bothell

Brushing and flossing are the cornerstones of a healthy smile, and starting a diligent brushing and flossing regimen early in life will help your child maintain good oral hygiene for a lifetime. Feel free to contact us if you have more questions about brushing and flossing, oral hygiene, or any other aspect of your pediatric dental care. We look forward to hearing from you, and we wish you luck in brushing and flossing with your child!