It’s never too early to encourage healthy dental care and build good dental habits in kids. Childrens’ teeth are vulnerable to decay, cavities, and bad bacteria as soon as they erupt, which can result in tooth loss. Hence, it is vital to establish good dental health habits as early as possible to prevent long-term issues, and a regular tooth cleaning routine is essential for great dental health.
Tooth Brushing Ages for Kids
You need to start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they get their first milk tooth, which is typically when your child is at around 6-9 months of age. You should brush with fluoride toothpaste when the first tooth erupts as fluoride will strengthen enamel and fight bad bacteria to prevent tooth decay. Use a lower-strength toothpaste of at least 1,000ppm fluoride until age six.
From ages one to three, brush your child’s teeth with a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush and a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. Brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes – once in the morning and once before bed. Make sure they spit out the paste but don’t rinse with loads of water as this washes away the impact of the fluoride.
Between the ages of four and six, your child should be able to brush their own teeth under your supervision so that they can learn and practise brushing. You can brush their teeth again if they struggle to brush properly. Once aged four, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Remember to replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months when it gets worn and frayed.
By the age of seven, your child can transfer to an adult toothbrush and brush completely independently, although it is recommended to double check that they are brushing effectively every now and then. They can now also use a slightly stronger toothpaste that is 1,350-1,500 ppm fluoride.
Kid’s Tooth Brushing Technique
Use this brushing technique to clean your child’s teeth and then encourage them to use the same technique to brush their own teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
- Angle the toothbrush at 45 degrees, aiming for the gumline.
- Gently move the brush back and forth, up and down, and in small circular motions with short, gentle strokes across each and every tooth, taking care not to miss any teeth.
- Ensure you brush all surfaces including the outer, upper, lower, inside, and top of teeth, and the tongue.
- Spit out excess toothpaste but do not rinse excessively as this removes the fluoride.
How to Encourage Tooth Brushing in Your Kids
It can be difficult to encourage your kids to brush their teeth. There are, however, a few things you can do to maintain healthy habits.
- Have your child brush their teeth in front of a mirror so they can see what they’re doing.
- Help them brush by guiding their hand in the right places.
- Make the experience as fun as possible so it’s not a chore.
- Make sure your child stands still and does not run around with a toothbrush in their mouth.
- Ensure your child does not eat toothpaste from the tube.
- Brush your teeth together with your child to set an example so they can learn and copy good habits.
- Let your child choose their own toothbrush with fun colours or cartoon characters on them.
- Brush to a song to keep it fun and ensure your child brushes for long enough.
- Praise your child for brushing their teeth by rewarding them.
- Set a schedule to establish a habit and develop a routine.
- Avoid strongly flavoured toothpaste as the taste can be off-putting. Try different flavours like strawberry or mild mint.
- Make up a fun game to make brushing teeth fun.
Children’s Dentistry at Bright & White
We provide dentistry services for children as we believe that it is highly important to learn about good oral hygiene from an early age. We aim to make each visit to the dentist child-orientated, helping children to avoid the fears associated with dentistry in the future.