Plaque is a sticky substance that develops on your teeth, due to exposure to food residues and bacteria. Unfortunately, plaque can contribute to tooth decay and gingivitis, affecting people of all ages, including children. Therefore, it is important that your child learn how to safely remove plaque through good oral hygiene, so that he or she can develop healthy dental habits for the rest of his or her life.
- Have your child brush their teeth twice a day, after breakfast and before going to sleep. Brushing your teeth regularly helps remove the plaque, and substances that cause it, surface the teeth before it can accumulate and cause problems. Uses an American Dental Association (ADA) approved toothpaste to prevent problems that could occur if small children swallow toothpaste for adults.
- Teach your child the correct brushing techniques to remove as much plaque as possible from the teeth. Locate the brush at a 45 degree angle where the teeth and gums meet. Gently brush with a circular motion on the surface of each tooth, including the front and back. Activate a stopwatch to help your child brush their teeth for the ADA’s recommended two or three minute time.
- Have your child floss their teeth every day. The plaque can not only develop on the visible surfaces of the teeth, it can also be lodged in the areas between the teeth. Food and bacteria that contribute to plaque formation also reside in such areas.
- Use a mouthwash to remove plaque on older children who are unable to swallow the product. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the bottle, as well as the recommended age limits printed on the label.
- Schedule a review with your child’s dentist at least twice a year, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.