Proper Toothbrush Technique for Children

As a parent it is good to start your child on the path to good oral home care. A child under 3 years of age needs a parent to brush their teeth twice a day (morning and night) because they lack the manual dexterity to adequately brush themselves. As they enter the 2-3 age range they sometimes enter a phase of autonomy where they like to perform tasks on their own. If so allow them to brush first and then go behind them and follow up with a thorough brushing. The ADA recommends that children use fluoridated toothpaste roughly the equivalent to a grain of rice at this age. This must be closely supervised by a parent to ensure that they don’t swallow the toothpaste. If your child insists on swallowing the toothpaste use one of the non-fluoridated children’s toothpastes or merely wet the toothbrush head. From age 3-6 children should be doing their own brushing with a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste under parental supervision. They should use a pen grip to hold the brush to avoid using too much pressure. At age 7 and above a child should be able to adequately brush their teeth and begin flossing with child friendly floss picks. As a parent it is still a good idea to periodically monitor the brushing routine until they are a teen. It is a great idea to introduce your child to an electric toothbrush as young as possible to assist them in keeping their mouth clean.