Sterling VA Dentist

How to Get Kids to Brush Their Teeth Correctly

How to Get Kids to Brush Their Teeth Correctly
Dr. Eddie Choi, EverSmile Dentistry in Sterling, Virginia

Learning how to brush and care for your teeth properly starts in childhood. Ideally, at it should begin at the time the first tooth erupts, about one year of age. Here are a few tips so you can learn how to get you get your kids to brush their teeth correctly.

Parents should begin cleaning an infant’s mouth after feedings beginning at around age one. Cradle the infant’s head in one arm while using the free hand to wipe the child’s gums with a clean, wet soft cloth or gauze. Brushing should begin when the first tooth appears.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush sized for the child’s age. Use a pea-sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste for ages 2-5 (if less than 2 years old, use just a smear of toothpaste). Parents should demonstrate the correct method of brushing their own teeth and then brush their child’s teeth. A toddler should be taught to spit out the toothpaste after brushing, with parental guidance. At the ages of 2-5 they should be able to rinse out their mouths after brushing with a small amount of water.

By the age of six, a child should be able to brush their own teeth, but parents should supervise occasionally to ensure that they are not missing areas or adopting non-effective habits. Children should brush twice daily, morning and evening with a soft-bristled toothbrush. They can also begin to use a battery-operated toothbrush at about 6-8 years of age, if you desire. Replace the toothbrush about every four months, and after an illness.

How Kids Should Brush Their Teeth Correctly

Parents should demonstrate to their children on their own teeth and help the child mimic the behavior.
Demonstrations can be done with a damp toothbrush without toothpaste.

Angle the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums of the upper or lower teeth. Move the toothbrush back and short in short strokes along the teeth and gums, stroking gently and not scrubbing. Every surface of the teeth (front, back and tops) should be brushed.

Use the tip of the toothbrush to reach behind front teeth on both the bottom and top. And brush the tongue gently to remove surface bacteria.

When Should Children Begin to Floss?

Children should begin flossing once a day as soon as they have teeth with surfaces that are next to each other.

To help your child floss, and learn to floss, parents should tear off a short piece of floss and twine it around their thumb and index finger. Using gentle pressure, insert the floss in a “C” shape around the curve of each tooth. Slide the floss up and down from tip to the gumline to remove excess food and bacterial plaque.

Learn more about our Dental Treatments for Children.

Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

In addition to proper brushing and oral care, parents and children should visit their dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and examination. We’ll be glad to demonstrate the proper way to brush and care for your child’s teeth so you can ensure a healthy smile throughout their lifetime.

As a family dentistry, the dentists at EverSmile Dentistry in Sterling, Virginia begin seeing children as soon as their first tooth appears. And we can provide professional dental services for every member of your family—no matter what age. Make your appointment today.