CLEANING YOUR CHILD’S TEETH
HOW DO I PROPERLY CLEAN MY CHILD’S TEETH?
In order to prevent caries, you must regularly clean away the bacteria causing it. After eating and drinking, the layer of plaque that forms on all teeth acts as a reservoir for bacteria to grow in.
This plaque must thus be removed through consistent oral hygiene. You should begin the habit of cleaning your child’s mouth with a soft cloth or gauze from birth, twice a day. As soon as the first teeth erupt, start using a finger-brush or a very small toothbrush to clean all surfaces of the teeth with water.
Your very young child will resist, but over time the habit will be formed and your child will become more compliant to brushing. When your child is older and able to understand the concept of brushing, you should reinforce this in the morning after breakfast, and the last thing at night before bed.
Children up to age 6 still need to be supervised by parents, as they have not yet attained the manual dexterity needed to ensure a thorough brushing. It is also recommended for you to floss between your child’s teeth daily in order to remove any food that may be trapped between them. There is some evidence that the regular use of xylitol wipes in young children act as an effective antimicrobial to kill off caries-causing bacteria safely.