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How to Brush Your Children's Teeth

Tooth decay is the number 1 disease affecting young children today *

Upon eruption of the first tooth 0-2 years old encourage brushing your child’s teeth using a soft toothbrush with only water. Sit the child the in your lap, facing away from you and supporting the head with your arm or rest the head in your lap. As the child gets older stand behind to brush the teeth.

It is not recommended to use fluoride toothpaste for children under 2 years old.

When brushing, brush the inside surfaces of all teeth, angling the bristles at 45 degrees toward the gumline (plaque accumulates most here) and brush one to two teeth at a time using a gentle, circular motion. Do the same for the outside surfaces of all teeth. Lastly brush the chewing surface of the teeth in a forward and back motion. (For brushing adult teeth click here)

From 2-7 years use a small pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste containing 1,000 – 1,500 ppm F (parts per million Fluoride). At 2-3 years children can start trying to brush their teeth with the parent brushing them before or after. Continue to brush your child’s teeth until they are able to do so themselves.

Encourage your child to spit and not rinse their mouth after brushing so it does not reduces the effects of the fluoride toothpaste.

Brush twice a day at bedtime and one other time during the day (ideally before or after breakfast). Reward charts can be a great way to encourage brushing twice a day.

Don’t forget to brush the tongue!

If your child does not like the toothbrush a finger toothbrush can be a good alternative.

Dr. Hayley Brahm

* American Academy of Pediatrics

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