Oral hygiene habits which we should but don’t teach our kids

When teaching oral hygiene practices, the first thing we teach our kids is, “Brush your teeth twice a day.” Is this the only dental hygiene practice that should be followed? What about how long they should brush their teeth, how to get rid of bits of food stuck between their teeth, when to change their toothbrush? Yes, we do know these things, but do we really follow these habits ourselves. So how can we expect them to learn?

Starting tomorrow, enforce these five habits so that your child’s teeth remain healthy till they are old and grey:

1. Flossing:

Cute girl cleaning teeth by floss in bathroom

Flossing removes food and plaque between the teeth that the toothbrush misses, so that tooth decay does not occur. The best age to start flossing your child’s teeth is when they are four so that by the time they are eight, they can floss their teeth on their own once a day.

2. Don’t overbrush:

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Too much good is also evil. It’s important to brush twice daily, but don’t overdo it, as overbrushing may cause teeth abrasions, sensitive teeth and gum problems. Don’t let your kids brush their teeth for more than two minutes.  

3. Rinsing:

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Make sure your child rinses his mouth after brushing his teeth properly. The right way to do it is to swill mouthwash or water in his mouth thrice and spit it out. Teach him to rinse his mouth after every meal too, so that all food particles that have not gone into his stomach are thrown out, thus curbing tooth decay.

4. Thumbsucking:

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Thumbsucking pacifies the child and puts him to sleep, but by the age of two, he may suck his thumb because he is scared, bored or anxious. So just because he cries when you remove his thumb from his mouth, don’t allow it. If your child continues this habit, discourage it, not only because it causes germs to enter his digestive system, but because it also leads to crooked teeth or teeth deformation that can only be rectified with braces.

5. Replacing the toothbrush at the right time:

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Ideally, we should replace our toothbrushes every three months. This is important because the frayed bristles will not clean teeth or gum properly. Along with this, teach your child to clean his toothbrush with antibacterial mouthwash after every use and again before he brushes his teeth.

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