Should we supervise our children’s toothbrushing?

Recent guidelines from the Royal College of Surgeons have recommended that parents supervise their children brushing their teeth up to the age of fourteen. The advice comes in response to reports that nearly 26,000 children were admitted to hospital with tooth decay in 2013-14, a rise of 11% since 2011.

Many parents and children think that 14 is too old to be watched over during toothbrushing, so what is the answer? Here at Bristol dentist clinic CK Dental, we think that correct toothbrushing is vital to avoid tooth decay and gum disease, but parents should be able to make their own judgement as to whether their children need to be supervised. Perhaps watch your child brush their teeth a couple of times, to ensure they are doing so correctly, before leaving them to their own devices.

So, what should you be looking out for if you are watching them?

Brush for two minutes

If you or your child struggle to know exactly how long two minutes is, try investing in an electric toothbrush, which will buzz to let you know when the time is up. The two-minute time period is the time most dentists agree it should take to clean your teeth really thoroughly.

Brush every tooth

Encourage your child to divide their mouth into four sections – top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right – and brush each for around thirty seconds. Remind them to brush the backs of their teeth as well as the front.

Don’t brush too hard

Whilst it’s important to brush your teeth thoroughly, brushing too hard can damage the enamel of your teeth and erode the gums. You can tell if your child is brushing their teeth too hard, as they will be wearing out toothbrushes quickly. Encourage them to rest the brush lightly on the surface of the teeth, and sweep not scrub.

For more information on the correct way to brush your teeth, or to check whether your child is showing signs of tooth decay, make an appointment at Bristol dentist clinic CK Dental today.

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