Brush your child’s teeth daily as soon as the first tooth appears in the mouth. Use water or a “training toothpaste” until your child sees the dentist for their first visit. This should be at the first birthday or 6 months after the first tooth comes in. Small children should be encouraged to brush, but they do not have the skills to be able to brush and clean all their teeth properly. Until about age 7, parents need to be the ones getting the teeth clean. After that age, parents can supervise brushing and perform “spot checks” to make sure that the teeth are being brushed correctly.
Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces. When teaching children to brush, place toothbrush at a 45 degree angle; start along gum line with a soft bristle brush in a gentle circular motion. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower. Repeat the same method on the inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all the teeth. Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen breath and remove bacteria.
After age 7, children still need to be supervised by an adult to make sure that they are spending enough time, and reaching all the surfaces of the teeth. The best way to remember how long to brush and how often is: 2 minutes 2 times each day!
If you have any questions about your child’s brushing, be sure to ask when you bring your child in for their check up!