If you are the parent of a toddler and you’re interested in teaching them how to brush their own teeth, you may wonder when (and how) to get started. In this guide from Harrisburg Smiles, we’ll give you an overview of the process and a few tips that will make it easier for your child to learn how to brush their teeth.
When Can Kids Start Brushing Their Own Teeth?
Kids can usually brush their own teeth properly when they’re coordinated enough to tie their own shoes. This is usually around the age of 5-6. Until this time, it’s usually best to brush their teeth for them.
If your child is younger and expresses interest in brushing their own teeth, you can teach them earlier, of course. If they can learn proper brushing technique and do it on their own, there’s no reason for them to wait until they’re older.
Understanding Proper Brushing Technique
Let’s go over a quick refresher on proper brushing technique. Here are a few things you should focus on when teaching your children how to brush properly
- Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of teeth – When brushing, it’s best to split the teeth into four quadrants consisting of upper right, lower right, upper left, and lower left. You should spend at least 30 seconds cleaning each section of the teeth.
- Brush the tops, fronts, and backs of teeth – When cleaning the teeth, make sure to brush the front and tops of the teeth, and to angle the toothbrush back to clean the rear surfaces, too.
- Hold the toothbrush at an angle – It’s best to brush at a 45-degree angle, since this helps clean the gums and removes debris more effectively.
- Use small circles or tooth-sized strokes – A small, circular rotation or a tooth-wide stroke of the brush is the most effective for cleaning teeth.
This video from the American Dental Association (ADA) is a great visual guide if you want more information about proper brushing technique.
Tips For Teaching Your Child To Brush Their Teeth
Ready to teach kids the basics? Here are a few tips.
- Lead by example – Even when your child isn’t brushing their own teeth, you can set a good example by using proper technique to brush your own teeth as well as their teeth. Kids love modeling the behavior of adults, so setting a good example is important.
- Help them along – You can hold your little one’s hand and help them brush their teeth properly as they get used to the process. This is a great option if they’re intimidated or not confident about their ability to brush.
- Take turns brushing at first – You can brush their teeth in the morning and let them try it at night. This way, they can see what you’re doing and learn more about the process, and still get experience brushing their own teeth
- Set a timer – Set a timer for 2 minutes. Or, even better, find a song that lasts 2 minutes and dance along to it while you and your little ones brush your teeth to make cleaning your teeth fun!
Follow These Tips – And Get Preventive Dental Care From Harrisburg Smiles!
Great at-home oral hygiene is important, but so is seeing a family dentist for regular teeth cleanings and oral exams. So don’t wait. Contact Harrisburg Smiles online or give us a call at (980) 258-0866 to schedule your little one’s next consultation with Dr. Cherukuri, and make sure their mouth is healthy in Harrisburg.