Tooth Brushing

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.  

Dentists and hygienists advise children to use a gentle, short, back and forth or circular motion to remove plaque. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle toward teeth and gums. Move brush back and forth with short strokes, about a half tooth wide.

  • Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth.
  • Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
  • Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
  • Floss between teeth daily.

When To Begin Brushing

Once the first tooth appears it is time to start brushing. Use a smear or rice grain amount of fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts.  When they are able to spit out the toothpaste, a pea sized amount of toothpaste can be used. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush where they miss. Most parents let children brush on their own far too soon.  We recommend brushing for your child or at least taking a turn when they are finished until at least the age of 8.

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/her a choice of which one he wants to use each time.
  • Let your child brush their own teeth first before you “help.”
  • Read your child some 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. There are even some kid mouth rinses that will make plaque show up blue or purple. It is also a good idea to create a “tooth brushing routine”. Try to stick to the same routine each day.