There is nothing more beautiful than a child's smile. But, that smile needs your help. Good oral hygiene is not an accident. Your child will likely need your guidance in brushing and flossing well into the grade school years before he is able to do a decent job on his own. There is, of course, no set age at which a child should take over brushing and flossing. This basically depends on the maturity level of the child and how well they can handle the brush and floss.

If you find flossing your child's teeth awkward, try having your child lie down. Put your child on your lap or on the floor, keeping his head steady with your legs. Or, you can try having your child stand with his back to you with their head tilted slightly and resting against your body. Have your child hold a mirror, so he can see what is going on.

Watch your child brush or examine their mouths after brushing to see how well they are removing the plaque. An excellent aid in detecting plaque removal is a disclosing tablet (These are available in the oral hygiene section of most drug stores).

Teach your child to spend at least two minutes cleaning his teeth. You might want to try using an egg timer. It works well and it can make brushing more fun! If you prefer, it's fine for a child to switch to a power brush - as long as it's used as meticulously as the manual one.

If an offbeat flavour, like bubble gum, encourages brushing, go with it. Sweet toothpaste that are made especially for kids won't turn a child into a sugar friend.

As for toothbrushes, pick any soft-bristled one that's small enough to fit pint-sized hands and mouths. Brushes with oddly shaped bristles or angled or flexible heads may not clean better than traditional ones, but kid-friendly styles and colours may entice them to brush.

As children do learn by example, be sure to do your own brushing and flossing in front of your child. Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life.

The reason photographers tell you to say cheese, is that it forces the face into a smile. The same thing happens though with any word that ends in a long “E” sound, like “ready, monkey and party”.

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