Teaching Dental Hygiene
Brushing is a skill that when done properly, can keep the teeth from rotting and falling out. Brushing keeps the teeth and gums free from food that gets stuck on the teeth and in the gums. Otherwise, decomposing food particles will attract bacteria and cause tooth decay. Brushing daily after meals is vital. Here is our brushing lesson set-up:
a) Pass out new toothbrushes
b) Show how to use a toothbrush effectively and without damaging the gums. Aggressive tooth-brushing can wear down the enamel and affect the gums.
c) Communicate to students that they will need to demonstrate the right way to brush.
d) Discuss ways to apply fluoride such as by drinking fluoridated water, by applying fluoride gel, and of course by using fluoride toothpaste.
How to Brush:
1. Take a soft or medium toothbrush and hold it firmly at 45-degree angle in your
fingertips – not in the palm (Hendrick, 2009). The name of this method is “Bass.”
2. Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride, about the size of the tip of
the baby finger.
3. Brush gently in a circular motion cleaning the front and back side of each tooth.
According to Van B. Hayward, DMD, professor in the department of oral rehabilitation in the School of Dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia, “When the protective layer of enamel erodes or gum lines recede, a softer tissue in your teeth called dentin can be left exposed.” Since dentin is connected to the tooth’s inner nerve center, when it becomes exposed, the nerve center can become unprotected and sensitive causing pain (Hendrick, 2009). To prevent caries and prevent gum damage, it is important to practice good oral hygiene, which means brushing properly at least twice a day for two or three minutes and flossing regularly.