You want your child to have a proud, healthy smile, and regular brushing can help keep those pearly whites healthy and spotless. You want to take care of your kids’ teeth.
Little ones need help. And in this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about brushing your child’s teeth – from when to start brushing, what toothbrush to pick, how to brush, and more:
When To Start Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
Brushing should start as soon as teeth emerge.
Starting early helps your child get comfortable with a daily oral care routine. Use a clean and gentle washcloth or dampened gauze wrapped around a finger (instead of a toothbrush). A finger brush is also a suitable alternative for cleaning those hard to reach areas in the baby’s mouth.
To learn when a baby should make the switch to a toothbrush, a visit to the dentist will provide answers. Some suggest waiting until four teeth in a row have emerged while other dentists recommend toothbrushing between two and three years old, depending on the baby’s oral health.
The takeaway, however: start cleaning and brushing the baby’s teeth the moment one appears!
Children’s Toothbrush – A Quick Age-By-Age Guide
Once a child is ready to transition to toothbrushing, know that toothbrushes for babies are in great supply. Pick one with bright colours to keep the baby engaged. You’ll also want to choose a brush with a head small enough to fit and move around in his or her mouth.
At age two, curiosity may compel a toddler to join in on the toothbrushing fun. If this is true in your case, letting the child take a turn after you are done brushing their teeth will help them get a better feel for the habit.
Use a toothbrush with a soft and small grip so the young one enjoys the experience, even if their motor skills have not fully developed yet. If the child gets bored with toothbrushing, powered toothbrushes for kids are available, which a 2-year old may find fun to use.
Five to eight-year-old kids are getting ready to brush their teeth on their own. A toothbrush with a slimmer grip than a toddler brush suits older children’s better grip and larger jaws.
For the preadolescent child, the toothbrush will look identical to adult brushes, with a smaller head and larger handle as the only exceptions. That’s because children ages eight and up have the motor skills needed for effective toothbrushing similar to grown-ups.
If your child struggles with manual brushing, making the switch to electric toothbrushes can help make the process easier, and it cleans just as well as the usual toothbrush.
And one last tip: For kids, replace toothbrushes every one to three months. But do check the bristles. A toothbrush with frayed and worn down bristles isn’t giving your child’s teeth the best cleaning possible, and it must be replaced immediately.
Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
For babies, brushing twice a day – in the morning and right before going to bed – is a good enough start.
A minuscule amount of fluoridated toothpaste (about the size of a rice grain or 0.25 milligrams) can protect against tooth decay by increasing the enamel’s resistance against harmful acids and bacteria.
Use gentle and short brush strokes to clean and dislodge bacteria on the inside and outside of the mouth – and the tongue, too, if the baby lets you.
Take your time brushing your kid’s teeth. Spend two minutes for each brushing session, focusing on the back molars (if they’re present) where cavities may develop. And since you are using small amounts of toothpaste, rinsing is not necessary.
For toddlers, continue the twice-a-day routine, and use a smear of toothpaste with only 1,000 parts per million of fluoride when brushing.
Be careful not to use too much toothpaste especially if the child is still learning how to spit. Using a minimal amount allows the toddler to skip the rinsing. Not to mention too much toothpaste can lead to staining or fluorosis.
Ease the toothbrush into your kid’s mouth, and use gentle back-and-forth strokes to quickly go through the mouth.
Pause for a moment to see if the child makes the grab for the brush. If he or she does, let the toddler get a grip and investigate. Doing so help develop good oral care habits. But do get the toothbrush back for a more thorough round of cleaning.
As the little one grows older, you can use firmer and longer brush strokes to clean their teeth.
When To Teach The Fine Art Of Brushing To Your Child
Brushing your child’s teeth is best up to three years of age. Beyond that, you can teach the young one how to brush.
To keep your toddler comfortable, put him or her on your lap while supporting their head with your arm. Take the time to explain what you are doing to give them a better idea why and how they should brush.
Let your child take turns with you while brushing their teeth, and give praise for a job well done. This will encourage your kid to develop the habit.
Now here’s an important reminder: don’t let your child brush their teeth without your supervision until seven to eight years of age – even if they can hold the toothbrush firmly.
Until then, their motor skills are not fully developed and skimping on brushing time is always a temptation.
Keep an eye on your child as they brush. Make sure they spend two minutes thoroughly toothbrushing. Be patient and don’t tire of guiding when your child finds it hard to reach for their gum lines and spaces between teeth.
Give Your Child The Gift Of Good Oral Health
You want to give your child the best you can afford. The best foods, environment, education, and yes, the best habits. And in this post, we looked at how you can help your child develop a brushing habit.
Get your child started early and use the right toothbrush. We also looked at specific steps for brushing your child’s teeth, as well as a few tricks to encourage them to brush on their own.
And lastly, supervise your child when brushing to ensure good oral care habits develop and stick.