Brushing & Flossing

The foundation to a lifetime of dental health is proper oral hygiene practices. Practicing excellent dental hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly dental treatments. Brushing and flossing are important daily habits to instill starting at a young age.


brushUse a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small amount of toothpaste. We recommend using a toothpaste that contains fluoride, but for children who are unable to spit it is important to only use an appropriate amount. For infants, you should only use a smear of toothpaste, less than a grain of rice and just enough to be visible on the brush. For toddlers, you should only use about the size of a grain of rice. For older children and adults, we only need to use a pea sized amount.

When you brush your child’s teeth, hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle along the gum line and brush slowly in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under the gum line. Readjust the brush and brush along all biting surfaces, taking to time to work any food particles out of the deep grooves in the back teeth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your child’s teeth. Don’t forget to brush the tongue.

Brush your child’s teeth every morning and every night to avoid the accumulation of food particles, plaque and calculus (or tartar).

Begin teaching your child not to swallow any toothpaste, and rinse thoroughly with water after brushing. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace the toothbrush with a new one.


flossFor areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can't reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread that is used to reach below the gum line 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 and pinch 2-3inches of floss between your thumb and pointer fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, 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 the back teeth.

Floss at night to make sure teeth are clean before your child goes to bed. When you first begin flossing, the gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not stop after the first few times flossing, let a staff member know at your next appointment.

Children’s Dentistry of Richmond

  • Children’s Dentistry of Richmond - 4025 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23223 Phone: (804) 321-6800 Fax: 804.321.8800

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