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.
When to Begin Brushing
Once your child’s teeth begin to erupt, you can begin cleaning them with a moist washcloth or gauze square. As your child gets more teeth, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. You should use just a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste or a non-fluoride toothpaste if recommended by you dentist.
By the age of 2 or 3 begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush the areas they miss.
How to Brush
Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline. Move the brush back and forth in short strokes, about a half tooth wide.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth.
- Gently brush the tongue and soft tissues of the mouth.
- Floss between the teeth daily.
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:
- Letting them brush your teeth at the same time
- Letting the child pick out a few toothbrushes with their favorite characters and giving them a choice of which one they want to use each time (this will give the child some feeling of control over the situation)
- Let them brush their own teeth first (you will likely have to “help out”).
- Read some children’s books about tooth brushing.
- Or have everyone brush their teeth at the same time.
To help the 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 let the child brush them clean.
It can also be a good idea to create a “tooth brushing routine” And stick to the same routine each day.