Brushing and Flossing
Children need to brush their teeth twice a day –once in the morning and once after dinner. Ensure that they're brushing the inside and outside surfaces thoroughly to dislodge any bacteria. Squirt a small amount of toothpaste onto a soft children's toothbrush and begin brushing in a small circular pattern. Your child's oral care routine depends on their age:
- Children two years old and younger only need a small amount of toothpaste, similar to the size of a grain of rice.
- Children between the ages of two and four only need a pea-sized amount.
- Children who are five years of age and older can use the equivalent size of a bean.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should help your child brush their teeth until they're about seven or eight years old. Unfortunately, there is no set age when your child will have the skills to brush their own teeth independently. However, it's a good idea to allow your child to begin brushing their teeth as soon as they are confident. Stand by to help them squeeze toothpaste onto their toothbrush and make sure they brush correctly.
Even if you're confident in the timeframe for helping your child with their oral habits, it can be challenging to implement if they won't cooperate. Keep up with some fun additions to their morning and nighttime oral care routine with these interactive routines at the sink:
- Buy two or three toothbrushes and different kinds of toothpaste. Let your child choose which one they'd like to use, and if there's more than one adult in your home, ask which one they'd like help from each day. A variation in routine, flavor, and the music that plays from different toothbrushes can help your child get excited for the task of brushing their teeth.
- Ask your child's pediatric dentist to give them a "lesson" on how to brush their teeth. While learning this lesson together, discuss a reward chart for when your child does it regularly and properly. From a trip to the park to a playdate, creating rewards together can help your child get excited about completing this task.