Tooth Brushing and Flossing
Children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months and after illness. Flossing should begin when teeth touch each other, which for some children is right away.
When To Begin Brushing
Baby teeth begin to appear when most children are six months old, but this can vary. Once teeth are visible, use a soft toothbrush with a smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth. You can do this while they are lying down for diaper changes.
By the age of 2, you can include your child in toothbrushing and use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. You will still need to brush before or after as children do not have the necessary coordination to do it on their own until age 6 or so.
How do I make brushing easier?
Practice! 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 their own teeth first (you will have to “check” (brush again) to make sure all the spots are clean).
- Read your child some children’s books about tooth brushing.
- Have everyone brush their teeth at the same time, but make sure not to share toothbrushes!
The most helpful tip is to make toothbrushing part of your routine. Pajamas first, brush their teeth, read a book. Children respond well to routine because it gives them comfort to know what is expected of them and toothbrushing, like anything else in life, get easier and more fun with practice.