Once your child’s teeth begin erupting, you can begin cleaning them by wiping them with a moist washcloth. As your child gets more teeth, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. For children 3 years of age and younger, use a smear of toothpaste. For children 3 years of age and older, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Best Brushing Practices
- Hold the brush at a 45 degrees angle towards teeth and gums.
- Brush gently in a circular motion.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.
- 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.
Getting Kids Engaged
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/her favorite characters and giving him/her a choice of which one he/she wants to use each time (this will give him/her some feeling of control over the situation).
- Let your child brush his/her own teeth first (you will likely have to “help out”).
- Let your child read 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.” Stick to the same routine each day to establish consistent, thorough brushing habits.