About Brushing and Flossing

Brushing Right

When it comes to brushing and flossing, your child’s hands and mouth are different than yours. Kids need toothbrushes that are designed to fit inside their smaller mouths and tiny hands. Of course, everyone should purchase a brush with soft, round bristles to ensure gentle cleaning. You should also buy a new brush approximately every three months.

Teeth Cleaning for Kids

Dental hygiene is important even before your baby’s first tooth erupts. You can help keep your baby’s gums clean by wiping gently with a soft, damp cloth or gauze square. As your baby grows, purchase a child’s size toothbrush, and brush the teeth in small, gentle circles using a small amount of toothpaste*, roughly the size of a grain of rice. To ensure proper teeth cleaning and reduce plaque:  
  • Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle facing the teeth and gums.
  • Brush in small, gentle circles about half a tooth wide.
  • Brush the inner and outer surface of each tooth.
  • Brush the chewing surfaces of each tooth, holding the brush flat on top of the teeth.
  • Gently brush the tongue to remove food particles.
  • Floss gently between teeth every day.
When your child reaches age 2 or 3, you can begin to teach them how to brush on their own. Of course, you should still help them brush any spots that they miss or can’t reach well to remove plaque. Again, brush using small, gentle circles on the teeth and gums. We recommend that you or another adult help your child brush until age 6 or 7. Most children need help flossing until age 10 as well. To keep cavities away, consider inspecting your child’s brushing habits until age 12. *Our Pediatric Dentists recommend that you use training toothpaste without fluoride until your child can spit or until the dentist tells you differently. For more information on why you should wait, read our blog post about Fluoride.