Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months.
Wipe infant’s gums gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow and teeth erupt, begin using a child’s toothbrush with a small, pea-sized dab of training toothpaste. After age 2, children’s fluoridated toothpaste may be used but only the size of a grain rice. By age 2 or 3 begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush for your child until they gain the manual dexterity to perform this task at around age 6-7 years old. Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, back and forth circular motion to remove plaque. When children are older they can switch to this method.
Hold the brush at an angle (45 degrees) towards teeth and gums. Move brush back and forth with short circular strokes, about a half tooth wide.
1. Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.
2. Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
3. Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
4. Floss between teeth daily.
For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing a positive experience:
- letting them brush your teeth at the same time
- letting them pick out a few toothbrushes with their favorite characters and giving them a choice of which one they want to use each time (this will give them some feeling of control over the situation)
- let them brush their own teeth first (you will likely have to “help out”).
- read some children’s books about tooth brushing.
- have everyone brush their teeth at the same time. Either use periods after each point or no period on bullet points
It can also be a good idea to create a “tooth brushing routine” and stick to the same routine each day.
“The information on this site is provided for educational or informative purposes only; it is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, recommendations or treatment”.
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Dr. Donna Thomas was born and raised in the Kansas City area. She attended St. Mary’s high school and Rockhurst College. She received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 1992 from University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Dentistry. Following graduation, Dr. Thomas completed a 2-year Pediatric Dental Residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha where she also obtained a Masters Degree. Read More...
Dr. Nicole Hawkinson was raised in central Iowa and attended Luther College where she received a degree in biology. She then attended the University of Iowa, College of Dentistry, where she completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Dr. Hawkinson went on to continue her education and received a certificate in Pediatric Dentistry at Strong Memorial Hospital and the University of Rochester, NY. She received extensive training in child psychology, dental trauma, sedation, hospital dentistry and development. Read More...
Dr. Claudia Lopez is originally from Bogotá, Colombia. She graduated first in her class at the El Bosque University of Dentistry. In 1992, she moved to the United States and obtained a certification in Pediatric Dentistry from New York University College of Dentistry. Dr. Lopez completed a DDS certificate and one year of dental research fellowship training at Children’s Mercy Hospital and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. Read More...
Dr. Frank Crist attended Park Hill High School where he graduated in 1982. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Kansas State University in 1986 and went on to attend the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Dentistry where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 1990. Dr. Crist completed a General Practice Residency at the Miami Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida. Read More...
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