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If you have young children, you’re probably wondering when they should start handling their daily oral healthcare routine on their own. Here, we’ll not only explain when your kids should begin brushing their own teeth, but how you should teach them and how to get them excited to brush their teeth on their own. But first, let’s talk about how to care for their oral health before they can do so by themselves.
How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth
Even before your child has any teeth, wipe their gums with a moist washcloth every day, preferably after feedings. Around six months, when your baby’s teeth start emerging through their gums, start brushing them. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush specifically made for a baby or even a wet washcloth wrapped around your finger to gently brush your baby’s teeth and gums to wipe away any bad, decay-causing bacteria. And as soon as your child has two teeth touching, begin flossing between their teeth.
When Kids Should Brush Their Own Teeth
Children typically shouldn’t start brushing their own teeth until they’re coordinated enough to tie their own shoes. This usually happens around age six or seven. Wait until they have enough dexterity to properly and safely use the tools themselves so they are more likely to reach every surface of their teeth. This timeline also gives you ample time to show them how to properly brush their teeth.
How to Teach Kids to Brush Their Own Teeth
Set a good example of great oral care for your family. Make a point of showing your kids that you brush your teeth twice a day: in the morning and at night before bed. When your child is coordinated enough, guide them through the following steps and supervise their brushing until you are confident they are getting an effective clean:
- Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush specifically made for children.
- Wet the bristles before putting a small amount of toothpaste–about the size of a grain of rice if they’re under three and a pea-sized amount if they’re over three–on the toothbrush.
- Brush the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of every tooth using gentle, circular motions as you move throughout the mouth.
- Remember to brush their tongue!
- Always encourage your child to spit out their toothpaste and to not swallow it.
How to Get Your Kids Excited About Brushing
There are a bunch of ways to get your kids excited to brush their teeth. For example, take them to the store to pick out their own toothbrush that features their favorite character, make a game of tooth brushing, use positive reinforcement with a sticker chart or extra reading time or a special family outing, turn tooth brushing time into a dance party with their favorite song, or watch any of the many videos available online that are made specifically to keep your child entertained while they brush their teeth. If your child is especially reluctant to brush their teeth, consider investing in an electric toothbrush to jazz up their oral care routine.
We See Patients of All Ages!
Highline Dental offers affordable dental care for patients of all ages in Richmond, TX. If you have any other questions about proper preventive oral care for your children or would like to schedule their next checkup at our office, contact us today.