Your growing child needs your help to ensure their teeth remain healthy, and their smiles white. Here, our Toronto dentists at King-York Dental explain steps for brushing your toddler's teeth.
4 Steps for Brushing Your Toddler's Teeth
Dental care for toddlers is just as important is it is for adults.
Your toddler is growing, eating more solid foods, and becoming more independent by the day. But they’re not yet able to clean their teeth, and need you to perform this essential oral hygiene task.
This is a critical time to ensure you’re brushing your toddler’s teeth properly, since their 20 primary teeth will typically grow in by age 3.
Our little ones’ first experiences with having their teeth brushed can start them on the path to good oral health for the rest of their lives, and help them avoid tooth decay now.
Those few minutes of tooth brushing 2 to 3 times a day can even prove enjoyable if you follow these fundamental steps for brushing your children’s teeth.
Step 1: Choose the right toothbrush and toothpaste
Tiny mouths need a small, child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Though we recommend a soft-bristled brush for everyone, this is especially important for young children as their gums are sensitive, and a harder bristled brush can be abrasive. Purchase a new brush every 3 to 4 months.
Get a fluoridated toothpaste in a colour and flavour your child loves.
Step 2: Use proper brushing technique
Squeeze a very small, pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto their brush. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the child’s teeth, and direct the bristles where the teeth meet the gums.
Brush in gentle circles (don’t scrub - this can harm the gums), and clean the surfaces of every tooth. Children can play a part by brushing themselves before mom or dad take over for them.
Step 3: Don't forget to floss
Flossing is a critical part of the brushing routine, and should start now.
Wrap a piece of floss about the length of your child’s arm around your middle fingers, allowing about 2 inches between your hands, then slide the floss between their teeth.
Wipe each tooth top to bottom about 2 or 3 times until it is clean (don’t forget to floss both sides of each tooth, and molars).
Use a clean section of floss each time you move to the next tooth. When complete, roll it and put it in the garbage.
Step 4: Perfect the routine
Brush each morning after breakfast and each night before bed. Make it family time - sing a song, or make up games to keep your child engaged. As your child develops more motor skills, they can gradually start to brush on their own, with supervision, at about 7 years old.