how to brush toddler teeth

Taking care of your child’s oral health plays a vital role in protecting the teeth and oral tissues in the long run. Moreover, it is a great way to teach your kids about tooth brushing.

Tooth cleaning in kids starts as soon as all of their primary teeth have erupted in the mouth. The early you begin this practice, the more used to kids get to the daily routine.

While your baby’s teeth are still erupting, you can use a washcloth to clean the teeth. Some dentists recommend switching to toothbrush when the child is at least 2-3 years old.

Brushing your toddler’s teeth can be very challenging as they don’t like to sit in one place. Proper planning and methods can help you to brush their teeth effectively.

Additionally, a fun way to brush the teeth will make the process enjoyable and inculcate in them the habit of tooth brushing.

Today’s article will teach you the most effective way of brushing your toddler’s teeth to promote good oral health and hygiene.

What is the importance of tooth brushing?

Children eat around three to four times a day. They are relatively at a high risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Refusal to brush the teeth for a long time can compromise the oral health of the child.

The first step to maintaining good oral hygiene is to learn tooth brushing. It saves a lot of time, energy and money that you may have to put for unnecessary dental visits. Besides poor oral hygiene affects your child’s precious smile. (1)

Clean teeth and fresh breath provides a strong set of healthy teeth and boosts up the self-confidence.

How can you brush your toddler’s teeth?

Usually, it is good to brush at least two times a day. The best time to clean is after breakfast and before bedtime. Find a convenient time when the child is fully awake.

Make it a fun task by asking your child to turn on the faucet or choose his toothbrush. This is an excellent way to engage your child and teach him tooth brushing. (2)

Now that you are ready to start brushing follow the steps below –

  1. Take the soft bristled toothbrush of your child and smear a small amount of low or non-fluoridated toothpaste. Generally, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste can suffice for effective cleaning.
  2. Make your child stand in front of the mirror and stand behind him or make him sit on your lap, facing away from you. Make sure you are in a comfortable position and can easily access the back teeth of your child.
  3. Take the toothbrush and angle the bristles towards the gum. Move the toothbrush in a circular motion to cover outer surfaces of all the teeth.
  4. Repeat the motion for inner surfaces of all the teeth.
  5. On the chewing surface, run the brush back and forth.
  6. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste on his own after you’ve done the brushing.

Always replace the toothbrush after every 3-4 months. Additionally, you can also use floss picks to allow thorough cleaning of the teeth. When the child crosses six years of age, a fluoride mouth rinse can be used to prevent dental caries.

When should your child start brushing on his own?

Usually, tooth brushing habits can be started by the parent at the age of 12 months. At this time, you can use a washcloth or a toothbrush with plain water.

When the child reaches 18 months of age, you can introduce non-fluoridated toothbrush to clean his teeth.

Most children take time to learn the hand and mouth co-ordination while brushing teeth. Ideally, a child can start tooth brushing independently around 6-7 years of age. (3)

Until then, keep reinforcing the habit of regular tooth brushing so that they can watch and learn the technique. This way the child will instill in his mind the importance of oral health.

What type of toothpaste should you choose for your child?

Fluoridated toothpaste is safe for children above 3-4 years of age. Before picking a fluoridated toothpaste for your kid, check if your tap water is fluoridated or not.

If the tap water is fluoridated, talk to your dentist about the use of fluoridated toothpaste.

While selecting a toothpaste allow your child to pick the toothpaste that has his favorite flavor. Also, look for an ADA seal of acceptance to ensure that the toothpaste is safe and effective.

Remember to take your kids for regular dental visits. Routine dental check-ups help to detect any anomalies or tooth decay at an early stage. (4)

Take away message

It is essential to brush teeth, mainly for kids to prevent them from the misery of tooth decay and gum disease at a young age.

Gum disease starts when the child refuses to brush his teeth for several days or weeks. As parents, it is your responsibility to make sure that you help your child.

The best way to take care of their oral health is to brush your child’s teeth by yourself until they learn the technique.

Early onset of oral hygiene practice benefits the child and provides a strong set of teeth. Children can be challenging to work with. But proper planning can help you to gauge their attention.

Make tooth brushing a fun activity and encourage your child to learn and participate in it. This way your child will inculcate the habit of good oral health care practice and learn the importance of tooth brushing.  

While you are on your mission to brush your child’s teeth, do not miss out on the regular dental check-ups. Always stay informed and be healthy.