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Maybe your child likes playing with army guys but doesn’t really like brushing their teeth. Does he or she know that every day, our mouths are exposed to environmental toxins from our food, drinks, kisses and breathing? You can teach your little one that good oral hygiene is like combating the bad guys in his or her mouth.

Before age 5 or 6, kids will probably need your help brushing their teeth. You can help them brush twice a day. Teaching them by through consistent demonstrations is the best way to get them in the habit. Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to brush your young child’s teeth:

1. Place the toothbrush at 45-degree angle to the gums.
2. Gently brush your child’s gums and teeth horizontally with short strokes
3. Thoroughly brush the outer sides, the inner sides, and the tops of the teeth and gums.
4. Use a soft toothbrush for gum surfaces where baby or adult teeth have not yet grown.
5. Since our tongues have even more power to spread plaque in the mouth than our teeth, it’s important to brush your child’s tongue to eliminate bacteria.

Another defense in the war against plaque is flossing. Just like adults, children can floss once a day. In addition to the help they get with brushing, they will need your guidance here. This is how to floss your young child’s teeth:

1. Hold a reasonable length of floss between your thumb and index finger, twining it around each finger.
2. Gently nudge the floss between your child’s teeth.
3. Position the floss in a ‘C’ shape. Pass it up and down along the tooth and under the gumline.
4. Duplicate this process for all areas in between the teeth in your child’s mouth.

Don’t forget to plan dental check-ups for your child every 6 months with Academy Park Dental Assoc.. We recommend you start this either as soon as your child gets their first tooth or at about one year of age. Dr. Cathy Fermelia is a well-known general in the war against plaque. Call us at 303-987-2121.