Idaho Pediatric Dentistry

Tooth Brushing

Tooth Brushing

How should my child brush?   
As you know, a child's hand dexterity and mouth are different than their parents.  It is important to make sure that your child is using the right toothbrush for them.  In both cases, adults and kids should use a soft, rounded bristle toothbrush, with gentle cleaning.


How often should I change my toothbrush?
The typical toothbrush should latest 3 months.  

What about my infant?
Before tooth eruption and shortly after you can use a moistened, soft cloth or square gaze to gently wife their teeth and gums after feedings. Once teeth start to erupt, a small, soft toothbrush can be used to clean their teeth.  

How much toothpaste should my child use?
According to the AAPD “no more than a smear or rice-sized amount for children less than 3 years of age and no more than a pea-sized amount for children aged 3-6" twice daily.  

When can my child brush on their own?
It can take many years for a child to learn how to brush their teeth and gums well.  Sometimes well into their teenage years. Therefore, it is recommended that you help your child daily to brush their teeth in all areas that they have missed.  

How do you brush well?
Placing the tooth brush at a 45 degree angle towards the teeth and gums and gentle brushing back and forth with short strokes and in small circles, seems to be most effective.  Make sure to touch all the teeth in the area where the tooth and the gums meet, on the top and bottom teeth and on the front and back teeth.   Don't forget to brush all the food debris out of the chewing surfaces of the teeth also.

What about flossing?
The only effective way to clean between teeth is with flossing.  Sorry, you just have to do it!   You should begin flossing when you can no longer see space between the teeth.  

What can I do if my child will not brush their teeth?
     Try any or all of the following:

  1. try to let him/her to brush your teeth at the same time you brush their teeth.
  2. take them to the store to let them pick out their favorite toothbrush, for some kids they would prefer a mechanical toothbrush with a timer.
  3. let them begin brushing and then you follow-up brushing after they are done.
  4. there is a large resource of books that you can read with your child to teach them about the importance and fun of brushing.
  5. stick to the same routine daily.  I know some children who prefer sitting the bathtub and brushing their teeth.