Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. In younger children ages 0-4 years old, use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.
When brushing, move the toothbrush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gumline. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take several minutes to thoroughly brush. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and on the chewing surface of all of the front and back teeth. Brush the tongue and the roof of the mouth before rinsing.
As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It is also important to change your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold, the flu, a mouth infection, or a sore throat. That’s because germs can hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to reinfection. Do not swallow any toothpaste. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gumline and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.
Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers on each hand. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gumline, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth too.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little but will toughen up and stop bleeding within a week.
**Another ingenious, economical flossing tool is the disposable flossing fork. These are great for kids who have minimal dexterity.