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Do your children like playing pretend battle games but are not a fan of taking care of their teeth? You can teach them that brushing and flossing are like battling the bad guys in their mouths. After all, every day our mouths are exposed to environmental toxins from our drinks, foods, oxygen and kisses.

Before kindergarten age, children will likely need your help brushing their teeth properly. Teaching them through twice daily demonstrations is the best way to get them in the habit. This is how to brush your little one’s teeth:

1. Place the toothbrush at 45-degree angle to the gums.
2. Gently brush your child’s gums and teeth horizontally with short, thorough strokes
3. Slowly and methodically guide the brush along the outer sides, the inner sides and the tops of the teeth and gums.
4. Use a soft toothbrush for gum surfaces where baby or adult teeth have not yet grown.
5. Did you know that our tongues have even more power to spread plaque in the mouth than our teeth? It is therefore important to brush your child’s tongue to eliminate bacteria.

An important shield in the war against plaque is flossing. Children need to floss once a day–just like adults. They will need several lessons in this skill too until they have the coordination and muscle mass able to floss on their own. Here are step-by-step instructions for helping them:

1. Hold a reasonable length of floss between your thumb and index finger, twining it around each finger.
2. Gently nudge the floss between your child’s teeth.
3. Position the floss in a ‘C’ shape and guide it up and down along the tooth and under the gumline.
4. Copy this process for all crevices between the teeth in your child’s mouth.

If it’s easier for you and your child, you can also use disposable flossers, which you can find at mostly any drugstore. And don’t forget to arrange dental check-ups for your child every 6 months with High Desert Dental. Don’t worry, Dr. Matthew Fethke is a well-known general in the war against plaque. Call us at 208-343-4732.