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Tips for Brushing your Children’s Teeth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | October 30, 2015

I am a mom and I am a dentist. So, I realize when I ask you to brush and floss your child’s teeth it is no easy task.  They don’t exactly hold still and open wide.  Mine don’t either.  But, brushing teeth is a worthy fight!  The importance and habit need to be instilled right from birth.  We can save them from toothaches and cavities through proper hygiene and a healthy diet.  I’m going to share some tips and little known facts to help you out.

Parents need to brush and floss for the kids until approximately age 8. They don’t have the dexterity or patience to properly brush and floss them until then.   This takes a lot of people by surprise, but think of their handwriting.  It is developing, but certainly not perfect.  They are still growing.  I brush and floss my children, then I have them brush after me so they can take their merry time if they so choose.  My 7.5 year of has an electric tooth brush with a timer.  She brushes and then I floss and do a “quality check.”  She frequently misses the front teeth and has to repeat but is getting better all the time.

child brushing teeth

It is a lot easier to brush someone else’s teeth if you lay them down on the ground or stand behind them. When I treat patients at my office I don’t stand in front of them to give an exam.  I ask them to sit in the chair and recline them.  I usually do my exams from behind them.  This allows me to see much better!  Try it when brushing your child’s teeth.  You will be much more effective.

mom brushing child's teeth

mom brushing kid's teeth

Don’t use so much toothpaste! I tell people to use as much toothpaste on the toothbrush as you would put peanut butter on toast.

toothpaste on toothbrush