Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. It’s advisable to use a new toothbrush about every three months. (We also recommend children’s Sonicare toothbrushes, they are very helpful in providing your child the best care possible.)
Wipe infant’s teeth and gums gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow, use a child’s toothbrush with a small, pea-sized dab of fluoride-free toothpaste. By age 2 or 3 begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush their teeth after they are finished. Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, back and forth motion to remove plaque. When children are older they can switch to this method below:
To increase acceptance, it is important to begin cleaning your child’s gums at an early age. Even before your child’s teeth erupt, begin cleaning the mouth with a washcloth or gauze square after a feeding. As your child’s teeth erupt, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. You should use just a pea-size amount of non-fluoride toothpaste (like Baby Orajel) until your child is able to spit the toothpaste out. At this stage, which is usually around age 3, have your child brush with fluoride toothpaste. Because children don’t have the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively until they are older (approximately age 7), the caregiver should brush the child’s teeth a second time.
For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include: