We teach our children from an early age to brush their teeth each and every day because it is vital to maintaining a healthy smile. While most parents are focused on just getting kids to brush their teeth; far fewer take the time to actually learn and teach their children proper dental hygiene and brushing technique.
After all, many adults are guilty themselves of aggressively over-brushing their teeth when using standard nylon-bristle toothbrushes. Is it any wonder our children would follow suit? When it comes to brushing, there can be something as too much of a good thing!
What’s the big deal you might ask about over-brushing if teeth are getting clean? A lot!
Many parents are surprised to learn that children who over-brush their teeth are at risk of developing both sensitive teeth and periodontal disease. Brushing vigorously with a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush wears down tooth enamel and pushes gums down, exposing the inner nerve part of the tooth. Even a soft, ordinary nylon bristle brush will wear down the teeth and gums over time. Children are especially vulnerable as gums can weaken and begin to erode. Once gums begin to recede, other dental problems can ensue — including cavities on exposed roots, which often need to be treated with fillings, root canals, gum grafting or tooth extractions.
Easy Does It!
Contrary to popular belief, applying hard pressure while brushing is not necessary to remove plaque. Fast, hard, up-and-down brushing only puts gums at risk — even in children. So, what’s the right way to brush? Here are some guidelines that can help your children protect their gums and teeth for a lifetime of healthy smiles:
2. Use a fluoride toothpaste.
3. Don’t share your toothbrush.
4. Hold the toothbrush flat against the teeth and move it back and forth along the gum line to sufficiently remove plaque.
5. Clean the outer surfaces and inner surfaces of teeth, including chewing surfaces.
6. Don’t forget to brush the tongue, too!
8. Floss daily.
9. Limit snacks between meals.
10. Visit the dentist at least once every six months for an oral exam and professional cleaning.
Consider that your child’s gums are the skin of their teeth. You would not teach your child to aggressively scrub their skin with an abrasive brush? So why would you have them use a medium or hard-bristle toothbrush on their teeth and gums?
Proper dental care is essential to your child’s health. With a mastery of proper brushing techniques, your child will be able to keep their teeth and gums for a lifetime. Now, that’s something to smile about! The choice is yours.
Dr. Jack Gruber, DDS is a periodontist in clinical practice for more than four decades. After many years of research and testing, Dr. Gruber created the PeriClean, an alternative to standard nylon toothbrushes to combat gum recession caused by toothbrush abrasion. Its design minimizes forceful brushing that causes damage to the teeth and gums while removing plaque with a textured surface.