First of all, parents should remember that setting an example can be very meaningful. Seeing their parents taking care of their own teeth shows young children that oral hygiene is important.
Help your child get into the habit of brushing their twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association. Regular brushing is essential in fighting plaque, the sticky coating that is the leading cause of tooth decay.
Get your child a brush with softer bristles. Teach him or her to begin with the insides of the teeth, where plaque is most likely to accumulate. Then, brush the outside of the teeth at an angle, as well as along the gum line. Finish by brushing the part of the teeth that is used for chewing, and remember to brush the tongue. The best brushing technique involves a gentle back-and-forth motion.
When teaching your child to brush properly, ensure that he or she uses only about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and make sure the child is able to rinse and spit. Some experts recommend that you brush your child’s teeth after he or she has finished brushing, since young children may lack the motor skills to reach all areas effectively.
In addition, you should make sure your child understands the necessity of flossing around the teeth and below the gum line in order to remove tartar that can build up in these areas. You can run the ribbon of floss through your child’s teeth starting at about age 4. By the time your child is in second or third grade, he or she should be able to floss without help.