Plaque is a sticky substance that develops on your teeth due to exposure to left over food bits and bacteria. Unfortunately, plaque can contribute to problems with cavities and gum disease, affecting people of all ages, including children. As such, it's important that your child learn to safely remove plaque through good oral hygiene, so that he can develop healthy dental habits throughout the rest of his life.
Have the child brush his teeth twice daily both after breakfast and before bedtime. Brushing regularly helps remove plaque, and the substances that cause it, from the surface of the teeth before it can build up and cause problems. Use an American Dental Association approved toothpaste for children to prevent issues that can occur from swallowing adult toothpaste.
Teach your child correct brushing techniques to remove the most plaque possible from the teeth. Place the brush at a 45 degree angle towards where the teeth and gums meet. Brush gently in a circular motion on every surface of the teeth, including the front and back. Set a timer to help your child brush her teeth for the ADA recommended two to three minutes.
Have your child floss her teeth daily. Not only can plaque develop on the visible surfaces of the teeth, it can also inhabit the areas between the teeth. Food and bacteria that contribute to plaque also reside in these areas.
Use a plaque mouthwash for older children who have the capacity to not swallow the mouthwash. Follow the manufacturer's directions on the bottle, as well as the recommended age limits printed on the label.
Schedule a checkup with your child's dentist at least twice a year, per recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.