When do I begin brushing my child’s teeth?
Once your child’s teeth begin erupting, you should begin cleaning them by wiping the teeth and gums with a moist washcloth. As your child gets additional teeth, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. You should use a rice-sized smear of an ADA-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride. We recommend brushing a few teeth and then wiping the excess fluoride away.
For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include:
- Let your child brush your teeth at the same time.
- Let your child pick out a few toothbrushes with his favorite characters and giving him a choice of which one he wants to use each time (this will give him some feeling of control over the situation).
- Let your child brush his own teeth first, then you can “help out”.
- Get your child some children’s books about tooth brushing.
- Have everyone brush their teeth at the same time.
To help your child understand the importance of brushing, it can be sometimes fun and helpful to let them eat or drink something that will “stain“ their teeth temporarily and then brush them clean.
It can also be a good idea to create a “tooth brushing routine”. And stick to the same routine each day. Remember, to always brush after breakfast and before bed. These are the most important 4 minutes of each day! #2min2xday
Brushing & Flossing Instructions
Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months. We recommend assisting your child until they are 8 years old, when they have the dexterity to properly care for their own teeth and gums.
Wipe an infant’s teeth gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square after every feeding. As babies grow, use a child’s toothbrush with a small, rice-sized smear of an ADA-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush independently with a watchful eye. You will still need to brush where they miss (Remember, age 8!). Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, circular motion to remove plaque. When children are older, they can switch to this more advanced method.
Hold the brush at a 45 degrees angle towards teeth and gums. Move brush back and forth with short circular strokes, about a half tooth wide.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, and also the top and bottom.
- Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush along the chewing surfaces.
- Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
- Floss between teeth daily. Yes, we mean every tooth!