Do you know how to brush your teeth the right way?

Whether you’re a parent of a child or you’re a child reading this, it’s important to know how to brush your teeth (or your child’s teeth), so you can form good dental habits that will last a lifetime. 

Many children don’t know how to brush their teeth correctly. While this isn’t as large of an issue for little ones who still have their baby teeth, learning early on ensures that once their grownup teeth are in, they’ll stay healthy and clean.

But how do you brush the right way? Isn’t it as simple as running a toothbrush over them and calling it a day? Not if you want sparkling teeth. 

Keep reading to learn all about how to brush your teeth and keep your mouth healthy and happy.

For Parents: Younger Children Need Help!

Once those tiny teeth start popping through, they need to be brushed! Toddlers and babies aren’t yet able to brush their own teeth, so it’s up to parents to brush them and later teach kids how to do it themselves. 

For babies, teeth and gums can be cleaned with a soft cloth. The non-abrasive surface is perfect for those tiny, growing teeth. 

As the child gets older (into toddlerhood), use a soft toothbrush and a toothpaste with low fluoride. As your child develops more dexterity, teach them how to hold the toothbrush themselves, and demonstrate good brushing practices. Older children and adults should use higher-fluoride toothpaste.

As you read on, you may learn that your habits aren’t as good as you thought!

Always supervise a child’s brushing process until they’re at least 8 years old. You can gauge your child’s maturity level beyond that, but it’s important that you make sure that they actually brush and that they don’t swallow a mouthful of toothpaste. 

No Sugar Before Bed

Before you brush your teeth, make sure that you’re avoiding sugar and anything sticky or stringy beforehand.

Brushing too soon after eating isn’t good for the enamel if you’ve eaten anything too acidic, but waiting too long after eating sugar allows bacteria to thrive in your mouth. Dentists recommend that you wait 30 minutes after eating to brush. 

Keeping sugar intake low in general, is better for the teeth and the body. We all love sweets, but consume them in moderation. 

Floss First

Only 32% of adults floss their teeth every day. Don’t be part of the percentage of people who skip it. Build up this habit in childhood, so flossing becomes a routine process.

Flossing comes before brushing so you can remove any excess debris with the toothbrush. 

Why do we floss?

As we go throughout our days, sticky plaque builds up in our teeth. You can brush this plaque away, but it also builds between the teeth.

When this plaque stays for too long, it hardens into tartar. You can’t remove that on your own. Too much tartar damages your gums and leads to gum disease. This impacts your overall health. 

Flossing is hard sometimes, and it’s not fun, but it’s important for your health. 

Brush All Surfaces

You don’t only have to brush the fronts of your teeth. Toothpaste isn’t magic, and it doesn’t permeate through the entire tooth. 

It’s challenging, but it’s important to brush around your teeth, including the backs (or the inside part of your teeth that face your tongue). 

Have you heard that you’re supposed to brush your teeth for two whole minutes? That wouldn’t make sense if you were only brushing the fronts. You need to get into every little nook and cranny to ensure there isn’t anything hiding in there.  

Spit, But Don’t Rinse

This is surprising to many people, but you’re better off if you don’t rinse out your mouth after brushing your teeth. 

You should always spit out your toothpaste. Swallowing it can upset your stomach. It contains fluoride, and while this fluoride is great for your teeth, it’s concentrated in toothpaste, and it’s like having too much of a good thing.

Many cities fluoridate their water to promote better oral health for their residents. The fluoride is in a lower concentration, so it doesn’t bother anyone’s stomach. 

So if this is all true, why shouldn’t you rinse it out of your mouth?

When fluoride coats the teeth, it strengthens the enamel. Have you ever had a dentist put a fluoride paste over your teeth, or swished fluoride mouthwash? That’s why! 

Wait 30 minutes to drink water after your brushing. 

Make Brushing Fun

Brushing your teeth is boring. Why use all of that time to clean your teeth when you could be using it for other things? 

You can make brushing more entertaining. 

For parents, you know that figuring out how to get kids to brush their teeth is a challenge.

Why not try telling your child a quick two-minute story while they’re brushing their teeth? This keeps your child entertained, so the time flies by. You should also reward good brushing behavior while they’re learning, so offer a sticker every day that they brush (or a special prize if they make it a whole month without being told). 

Kids can set up a dance party for themselves (as long as they’re careful). Pick a favorite song and jam out to it while you’re brushing your teeth. Some special children’s toothbrushes come with a built-in song that lasts the perfect amount of time for a good brushing session. 

Do You Know How to Brush Your Teeth the Right Way? 

It’s important to know how to brush your teeth. You want your (or your child’s) oral health to be good for a lifetime, so they don’t struggle with too many cavities or even extractions later on.

Set up these good habits now and get a jump on those healthy teeth!

Are you looking for the perfect pediatric dentist to keep your child’s teeth in great condition? We’ve got you covered. Contact us to schedule an appointment for your child. We can’t wait to meet you.