How Should I Start Brushing My Child’s Teeth?

Child Brushing Teeth

Developing good routines with your child will be the foundation of their oral health leading to adulthood. The most effective way to do this is by using age-specific products that make brushing teeth fun! A quick search online and you’ll find toothbrushes with their favorite cartoon characters and special fun apps that help with guiding them during brushing time.

For a baby (4-24 months):

  • Wipe their gums with a soft washcloth after feeding. This removes plaque and germs that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Once you spot a tooth, it will be important to brush 2 times a day with water and a soft-bristle toothbrush.

For toddlers (2-4 years):

  • Use a pea-sized amount of a kid’s fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities.
  • Brush 2 times a day for 2 minutes each time.
  • By age 4 they should no longer be in the habit of thumb sucking or using a pacifier

For children (5-7 years):

  • Brush twice. Once after breakfast and once before bed.
  • Continue to use a fluoride toothpaste with a brush large enough to reach the molars
  • Begin flossing as soon as 2 teeth touch. Floss holders are a great aid until the child develops the dexterity to floss on their own.

How to Brush

  • Inside and outside of every tooth: Place the brush at a 45-degree angle; with short, gentle strokes, move the toothbrush from the gums toward the edge of the teeth.
  • Chewing surfaces: Hold the brush flat and brush back and forth. It’ll be fun if your child holds the brush, too.
  • Inside surfaces of front teeth: Tilt the toothbrush up or down and use gentle up-and-down strokes with the tip of the brush.

How to Floss

  • Wrap the ends of the floss around the middle fingers
  • Hold the floss between the thumb and middle finger, leaving about 1″ of floss between hands
  • Gently work the floss between teeth. Once you reach the gumline, curve floss into a “C” shape around the tooth and make sure to go below the gumline
  • Gently glide the floss up and down several times between each tooth, including the back teeth