In the family, parents can demonstrate how to brush their teeth properly. In doing so, they must bear in mind that as parents they are the most important role models for their children – only if they brush their teeth regularly and thoroughly in the presence of the children, they will adopt the appropriate behavior. Brushing your teeth should have a specific place during the day (in the morning after breakfast, in the evening before bed), so it should be a habit. If children learn this habit at an early age, they will most likely continue to practice it throughout their lives. The information sheet “Brushing your teeth according to KAI” shows how the competence in brushing your teeth develops over the course of the first few years of life.
It is therefore of great importance that children themselves take responsibility for their teeth and their thorough care. Parents only ensure plaque-free teeth themselves in the evening by also brushing all teeth clean on all sides – right into school age (see leaflet “Parents brush children’s teeth”).
And this is how teeth are brushed properly:
First, the chewing surfaces of the molars are brushed vigorously, with the toothbrush being guided parallel to the teeth. Then all the outer surfaces of the teeth are brushed in small circular movements – starting with the rear teeth. Both the gums and the teeth are brushed (the toothbrush must not be too hard or pressed too hard for this). The gums should be “massaged” with special attention paid to the tooth line. To clean the back of the incisors, the toothbrush is held vertically. Brushing your teeth should take at least two minutes.
The toothbrush used should be suitable for children, i.e. have a thick, if possible angled handle and a small, short bristle field. The bristles should be tufted and elastic, stand close together and be rounded at their ends. After use, the toothbrush should be rinsed thoroughly, tapped on the edge of the sink and stored in such a way that it can dry easily. The drying process removes the breeding ground for bacteria. Toothbrushes should be replaced with new ones after about three months. Until children are able to spit it out in a controlled manner, they should use children’s toothpaste with a maximum of 500 ppm fluoride, and no more than an amount the size of a pea. They can be switched to adult toothpaste when they start school.
Spitting out the toothpaste should also be practiced. It should only be rinsed out once with a little water so that the remineralization of the tooth enamel can be promoted by the fluoride content in the toothpaste. Finally, the children should look at their clean teeth in the mirror. You can use the tip of your tongue to feel your teeth. Rough areas indicate deposits that still have to be removed. When parents give their children blueberries to eat (which causes plaque to discolour), it becomes clear how long it takes for their teeth to be really clean.
Toothpaste or a gel cannot be dispensed with. Toothpastes consist of cleaning bodies, a paste base, active ingredients (possibly medicinal substances), aromatic substances, etc. They should absolutely contain fluorides, which make the tooth enamel more resistant, for example by promoting remineralization. By dipping a piece of blackboard chalk in ink and then breaking it through, parents can show their children how fluorine penetrates tooth enamel. Fluorides are found in most toothpastes and gels, but are also given as components of tablets, table salt or varnish (the varnish can only be applied by the dentist).