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Mom and son brushing teeth in the bathroom

Routinely brushing teeth is foundational for good oral health, and it’s just as important for kids as it is for adults. But teaching your kids about how to brush can be intimidating. After all, even some grown-ups struggle to care for their teeth properly. Fortunately, teaching good oral hygiene is an incremental process. As your child grows, so can his or her own level of responsibility. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, we believe that patient education is a big part of our job. We don’t simply want to treat our patients. We want them to enjoy good oral health for life. That’s why Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven are always ready to answer questions and to provide age-appropriate instruction. 

For more information about kids’ oral hygiene or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.

When should we start? 

You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one comes in. It may feel ridiculous to be brushing one tiny tooth, but it sets a pattern that can ensure a lifetime of good habits. Plus, it helps to remove the bacteria and plaque that can accumulate on even the newest teeth.

Actually, you can start “brushing” before your child even has any teeth. After breast or bottle-feeding, wipe down his gums with a soft, wet cloth or a piece of gauze. 

What kind of toothbrush/toothpaste should we use?

Use a soft-bristled brush, which will be more comfortable for tender gums. Soft toothbrushes are actually better for the whole family, since hard bristles can erode protective dental enamel. 

Though you may see a lot of fluoride-free toothpastes marketed for kids, it’s really better to use a fluoridated product. Just be sure to choose one with the ADA seal of acceptance. And apply an appropriate amount: a smear the size of a grain of rice for children under 3, and a pea-sized dollop for older kids.

When is my child old enough to brush his own teeth?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your child’s teeth for him until he is about 6. This will ensure that he is doing the job properly and not accidentally swallowing the toothpaste. 

However, timelines for kids are always individual. Some kids may be ready earlier, others later. Regardless of when you start allowing him to actually handle the toothbrush, continue to supervise the process until you are fully confident in your child’s abilities. 

How do I teach my child to brush her teeth?

If you’ve been doing a good job in the first few years, some kids may pick up on brushing teeth right away. Others may need a little help. To encourage proper brushing: 

  • Before you fully relinquish the activity to your child, let her brush on her own for a minute or two before you take over. You can begin this as early as age 2 or 3.
  • Have your child watch you brush your own teeth. 
  • Brush your teeth together.
  • Remind her to hold the toothbrush at a proper angle
  • Set a timer for two minutes.
  • Choose a rewards system, like a sticker chart. 

Learn More about Brushing Teeth and Other Oral Hygiene 

For more tips about brushing teeth and other dental health concerns, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

Reach our office online or call (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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