A Teeth Brushing Guide For Kids
Taking care of dental hygiene isn’t something that comes naturally to children. To protect the health of our children from baby to adulthood and beyond, it is important to teach healthy teeth brushing and flossing habits. Learn when and how to teach your children to brush and floss with this quick guide.
When to Teach Children to Brush & Floss: A Timeline
0 – 6 months old:
No teeth yet! Keep your baby’s gums free of food and bacteria by gently wiping them with a warm, damp washcloth after each feeding.
6 months – 3 years old:
It differs for every baby, but as soon as the first tooth comes in, you should start brushing with a children’s toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice. Do this twice daily. Teach your child to spit out toothpaste.
Once your child’s teeth start to touch (may be around 1 year old), begin to floss once per day in addition to regular brushing.
You will want to take your child to the dentist before their first birthday to ensure their dental health is on a good track.
3 - 6 years old:
Brush your child’s teeth using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste two times a day. Be sure to get the entire surface of the tooth as you brush. Continue to floss daily.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush themselves, teach them proper technique (see next section), but continue to supervise and guide them.
6 – 8 years old:
Your child may be old enough to brush and spit without your help around the age of 6. At this age, continue to encourage them to brush 2 times per day and floss daily. Check your child’s teeth to be sure they are not missing any spots.
How to Teach Proper Teeth Brushing Technique
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and brush their own teeth, it is important to teach them proper technique for keeping a healthy smile.
Some important brushing tips to teach your child:
- Brush for 2 minutes, 2 times per day
- Gently brush in short strokes
- Spend time brushing the outside, inside and tops of all teeth
- Help them learn the proper amount of pressure to apply—too much will damage protective enamel
- Brush your tongue as well
Choosing a Toothbrush for your Child
When choosing a toothbrush for your child, consider these important factors:
- Size: the brush should be small enough to reach the teeth from all angles
- Bristle: choose a brush with soft bristles
- Grip: your child should be able to easily hold the brush’s handle
- Fun: help your child enjoy brushing by choosing a toothbrush with their favorite characters and colors
How to Teach Flossing to Children
As soon as your child’s teeth are touching, you should floss their teeth once per day. When they are old enough to floss on their own, teach them these pointers:
- Wrap each end of the floss around a pointer finger
- Slide the floss in between two teeth and move it up and down gently along the side of the tooth and the gums
- Use fresh floss for each tooth to prevent debris from getting back in between teeth
Building a Healthy Habit
Help your child establish lifelong dental hygiene habits that they will carry into adulthood. Remember the following tips:
- Brush for 2 minutes 2 times per day
- Floss daily
- Replace your child’s toothbrush every 3 months
- Visit the dentist regularly
- Help your child understand that healthy teeth and gums are important for overall health