Correct toothbrush techniques have become so second nature for many adults that they have forgotten how important it is to teach their children how to correctly care for their teeth.
Here are some tips from the American Dental Association that will help you re-evaluate your personal dental hygiene habits and instill correct habits in your children:
1. Brush at least twice per day. Brushing teeth too often can cause the enamel to wear away, leaving nothing to protect your teeth and gums from bacteria and infection. On the flip side, not brushing teeth enough is also bad for dental hygiene health. Ensure that your children brush their teeth every morning and night to ward off cavities and other potential diseases.
2. Give it time. Make it a priority to brush two times per day for at least two minutes. Some experts suggest splitting up your mouth into four sections and brushing each section for 30 seconds. Brushing longer than two minutes, however, can lead to enamel erosion, revealing too much of the tooth.
3. Brush lightly. Brushing too hard can cause severe damage to your gums. It can cause gums to recede, exposing more of the tooth. One way to ensure light brushing is to hold your toothbrush like you hold a pen, naturally creating a lighter stroke.
4. Keep your toothbrush clean. Always rinse your brush when you are done brushing your teeth. Rinsing and air drying your toothbrush is the most convenient, practical solution to removing germs form your toothbrush. Washing it with soap or not rinsing toothpaste off causes the toothbrush to hold onto germs and bacteria.
5. Change your toothbrush frequently. The ADA suggests that toothbrushes be replaced every three or four months. Once the bristles on the brush lose their flexibility and start to break apart, it is time to get a replacement.