Ask a Dentist

November 4, 2022

Q: I’m Looking For Tips On How To Teach My Child How To Brush Their Teeth. What Are They?

Toddler smiling while brushing her teeth

Oral care should begin at an early age because it’s essential for long-term oral health. Parents should teach their children how to properly brush their teeth by taking these crucial steps. 

When To Start Brushing

You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear. For children younger than three years of age, use a child-sized toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). When your child is between three and six years old, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. These days, there are many kid-friendly toothpaste flavours such as watermelon, strawberry and lemon so let your child decide which toothpaste they’d like to use to encourage them to brush daily. 

General Brushing Tips

To begin brushing, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your child’s gums and gently move the brush back and forth in short tooth-wide strokes. Be sure to brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and gently make a few up-and-down strokes. 

Once you’re comfortable letting your child brush on their own (usually around age six), supervise them to make sure they’re using the right amount of toothpaste and they’re spitting it out. What happens when they accidentally swallow toothpaste? Learn more about this topic in our previous Ask A Dentist blog

To help keep your child focused on brushing their teeth, you can either set a timer or play their favourite song or video for two minutes. You can also make a reward chart and add a sticker every time they brush for two minutes, twice a day. Once brushing becomes a habit, it will be much easier to get your child to brush their teeth. 

You can learn more about taking care of your child’s teeth and gums by visiting Dental Image Therapy Centres. Our dentists are experts at helping families develop amazing home care routines that will keep little teeth healthy and strong. Schedule an appointment with us today. Or visit us at one of our Winnipeg locations at St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre.

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