How to get your Child to Brush their Teeth | Smile Line Dentistry

How to get your Child to Brush their Teeth

Daily oral hygiene is essential in preventing tooth decay. Learning how to brush, and starting to brush early, will play a big part in helping to ensure children experience less tooth decay and gum disease.

Start Brushing Early

  • As soon as teeth appear (on average around 6 months of age), start brushing with a small soft-bristled children’s or baby’s toothbrush. Use a clean baby facecloth to gently wipe gums where teeth are not present. Wipe and brush gently after each feeding if possible.
  • Practice regular morning and bedtime brushing routines with your toddler.
  • Establishing this early routine will prepare your child for visits to the dentists while simultaneously creating good oral hygiene habits at home.

Brush the Right Way

  • Choose a soft, small, circular brush head
  • Going from gums to tooth, perform gentle circular motions with the toothbrush.
  • Brush every tooth, including the molars in the back. Molars are most forgotten which often results in them having tooth decay.
  • If flossing, do it first and then follow with brushing. This will allow the toothbrush to clear any dislodged food or debris from between the teeth and provide fluoride to all surfaces.
  • Use small amounts of fluoride toothpaste, e.g., rice grain size for children under three years and pea size for children over three years old.
  • Brush for at least two minutes. Use an egg timer, phone timer, app, or sandglass and allow your child to set it.

Have Fun with It!

  • Lead by example and make brushing your teeth a family activity. Brush your own teeth along with your child and other family members twice a day. Show your child that good oral health is an important habit the whole family takes part in.
  • Allow your child to choose their own child-themed toothbrush or favourite flavour of children’s toothpaste.
  • Choose a children’s toothcare song or hum a favourite nursery rhyme whilst brushing teeth.
  • Read children’s books on brushing teeth, visiting the dentist and other related topics with your child, and talk about the story when brushing your teeth together.
  • Download a kid-friendly app like “Brush DJ” and let your child choose a two-minute song to help them practice brushing for two minutes.
  • Use a reward system, e.g., your child can collect stickers on a chart and choose a reward at the end of the week.

Remember to do a quick check of their teeth after brushing, and always praise your child’s efforts after they have brushed. Remember that positive reinforcement goes a long way to creating healthy habits and good oral hygiene!