Brushing Your Child’s Teeth

Properly brushing your teeth is a lifelong habit that you want to instill in your child as early as possible. Until he or she is able to properly brush, however, you will need to lend some assistance.

How to brush a child’s teeth properly

Remember that your child will probably offer some resistance at first. You can try to reduce this by telling him or her that you are going to tickle their teeth and that it will be fun. You may show him or her some cartoons of other people (or things) getting their teeth brushed and explain that you are going to do the same thing. The more you can make it feel non-threatening, the less resistance your child will offer, and the easier it will be for you.

The biggest thing to consider in brushing is that you want to hit every surface so you will need a system. Some parents start in the front and work to the back; others start on the inside and work to the outside. It really doesn’t matter too much what order you go in so long as you follow your system and make sure to get every surface.

Use small circular motions, as this will clean the tooth better than simply moving back and forth. Try cradling your child’s head and asking him or her to let you count all of his or her teeth. If he or she starts to cry, you can sometimes take advantage of the open mouth to get all the way to the back.

Although the process will be a struggle at first your child will quickly get used to it and will eventually sit quietly and allow you to do the job. It does help to use a child-friendly toothpaste flavor such as bubble gum or grape. The mint flavors that adults favor may be too strong and unfamiliar to your child and might even increase the trauma associated with the event. Keep talking with your child during the entire time, letting him or her know what you are doing and try to make it a fun time.