Caring for Children’s Teeth – Part 3: How to introduce kids to brushing their teeth

Between play dates and craft times, brushing teeth doesn’t often rank high on a child’s list of favourite activities. At Whitehorse Dental, we understand that it’s hard to keep active kids still enough to brush their teeth!

Healthy teeth is vital for your child’s development, and introducing daily brushing routines early on will set them up with good dental habits in the future.

Over our years of experience with children’s teeth, we have a few pointers for parents on how to introduce kids to brushing their teeth.

  • Introduce your child’s toothbrush early

To begin with, introduce a toothbrush for your child into the bathroom even if they are not using it yet to brush. As we know, young toddlers love to put things into their mouths to chew – so this works in your favour if the object is a toothbrush!

  • Brush your teeth in front of your kids

Another subtle habit to introduce as an early daily routine, is to brush your own teeth in front of your kids. Children often copy their parents behaviour and activities. Therefore modelling the daily behaviour of teeth brushing in front of your kids will hopefully encourage them to take on the same habit.

How to Brush Young Children’s Teeth:

  • Let kids brush their own teeth, then help them finish

When brushing, we recommend that you let your child have a go at brushing their teeth themselves first. Afterwards, you can help your child finish up brushing properly.

  • Use children’s toothpaste with fluoride

To accompany the brushing, we strongly advise using a children’s toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is the ingredient that helps to harden tooth enamel and therefore helps teeth become more resistant to tooth decay.

  • Children’s toothpaste is safe to swallow

Young children generally won’t be able to spit very well, so we suggest using a children’s toothpaste. Children’s toothpaste has less than half the fluoride content of regular adult toothpaste. The lower level of fluoride in children’s toothpaste makes it safe for kids to swallow and there’s no need to rinse their mouths after brushing.

  • Push the toothpaste in to coat toothbrush

Smear a tiny pea sized amount onto your child’s toothbrush, and be sure to push the paste across the bristles to evenly coat the toothbrush. This will ensure that the toothpaste will make contact with all of your child’s teeth rather than simply falling off the brush in a lump.

Taking these steps will hope to ease children into good dental habits from a young age. As dentists, we want to see kids come into Whitehorse Dental with big smiles not cavities! It’s all part of our philosophy in preventative dentistry, which we’ll explore further in the next post: when should children begin dentist visits.

Image credit: Teefs!” by Brian is licensed under CC BY 2.0.