How to Teach Your Children to Brush Their Teeth

Aerial view of a young dark-haired baby lying on a blue blanket next to her older sister wearing glasses

At Royal Oak Family Dental, we love caring for patients of all ages, whether they’re 2 years old or 102 years old. After all, it’s never too early to establish superb oral hygiene. Read on to learn some ways to teach your child how to develop healthy preventive care habits from a young age.

When to Start Your Child’s Oral Care

Even before your child’s baby teeth emerge, you should gently clean their gums with a moist cloth after each feeding. This will get them accustomed to daily oral care early on, and help keep their gums healthy and strong. Once your child gets their first tooth, you should begin brushing their teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush that is small enough to fit in their mouth and a smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. As soon as they have two teeth touching, floss their teeth at least once a day. We recommend you begin teaching your child to brush and floss their own teeth between the ages of 6 and 8, but with supervision to be sure they do it correctly and don’t swallow their toothpaste. Show them how to gently brush in tiny circles at a 45 degree angle toward their gums.

How to Make Brushing Fun

As your kids are learning, be patient with them and come up with creative ways to keep them excited about their dental hygiene. You know them best—how are they motivated?

  • If your kids are the kind who respond well to a good story, try telling them a story about the evil bacteria holding their teeth hostage and how the only way to save them is by brushing their teeth!
  • If they’re the kind of kids who enjoy a good dance party, pick a good song to brush to (one that’s two minutes) and rock out while you brush.
  • Try out a reward system that doesn’t involve candy or sweet treats.
  • Consider investing in an electric toothbrush if your child is a reluctant brusher or has difficulty using a manual toothbrush correctly.
  • Play a game of follow-the-leader by brushing your teeth with them. Kids love to imitate their parents and they’ll want to follow your good example!

Encourage Excellent Preventive Care Habits

A good preventive care routine (brushing twice daily for two minutes each time, flossing each day, and visiting Royal Oak Family Dental biannually for cleanings and exams) can help you and your kiddos avoid a variety of oral health issues, like gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay. To ask our team any questions about encouraging your children to brush their teeth, or to schedule your next appointment, contact our office today!

Need additional tips to jazz up your child’s oral hygiene routine?

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