Often families receive no formal instruction in correct brushing, so if the clinician does not provide it, no one else will. Encourage patients to follow these guidelines:
- Caregiver should stand or sit behind the child and brush the exposed surfaces of each tooth.
- Lift lip to allow proper visualization.
- Brush along the gum line where caries commonly begins, both on the outside (buccal) and inside (lingual) of the tooth.
- Brush the top or chewing surface (occlusal).
- Use small backwards and forwards brushing movements or small circles.
- Spit out toothpaste and don't rinse after brushing.
- No food or drink after brushing.
- Begin flossing daily once teeth touch.
- Encourage use of electric toothbrush beginning at age 4 years.
Make Toothbrushing Fun
- Sing a song that lasts two minutes and brush until done.
- Sing the alphabet and brush each quadrant until done.
- Brush in front of the mirror.
- Use an electric toothbrush featuring timers, lights, or favorite characters.