Regular tooth brushing is important to remove plaque and food debris, and most importantly for distributing the fluoridated toothpaste.
- Brush twice daily beginning as soon as teeth emerge.
- Bedtime is most critical due to decreased salivary flow.
- Caregiver should brush child's teeth until age 8 or 9, at least until they have developed the manual dexterity to write in cursive or tie their own shoes because:
- Children will not reliably spit and may swallow toothpaste.
- Young children have difficulty adequately brushing all areas.
- Parents should continue to intermittently supervise brushing after children assume independence.
- Caregiver should stand or sit behind child.
- Child should spit, but not rinse, after brushing to increase topical fluoride exposure.
- No food or drink after brushing.
- Floss once daily between teeth that touch. If teeth have space between them, good toothbrushing technique will clean all surfaces. If the teeth touch, the toothbrush cannot get between the surfaces and flossing once daily will aid in removal of food and plaque.