It happens all the time: we see a child between the ages of 9 and 18 years old that still really need help with their brushing and flossing routine. They open their mouth and we find moderate to heavy plaque and puffy, tender gums. This puffiness and build up can cause gingivitis, decay and bad breath. You might be thinking: “So, you want me to brush my 11 year olds teeth?!” No, you don’t have to brush their teeth, but we do suggest that you supervise and be involved in a more passive way. Here are some tips:
-Be aware of how often they are brushing. Remember, twice daily brushing is recommended with the night time routine being most important. Not sure if they really brushed? Feel those brush bristles to see if they are wet or dry. If they are dry, chances are they may not have brushed as recently as they told you.
-Be aware of how long their brushing routine lasts. Keep a subtle eye on the clock. If they are brushing for less than 1.5-2 minutes, they may be leaving harmful plaque and build up behind.
-Provide easy tools for flossing like the Reach flosser or floss picks. Keep track of how quickly you replenish the supply.
-Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Remind them of the benefits of brushing and flossing and let them know when they are doing a great job!
Hopefully these tips can make the next check up a happy and healthy one.