As children’s hands and mouths are different than those of adults, they need to use toothbrushes designed for them. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush approximately every three months.
For infants, wipe teeth gently (including the tongue) with a moist, soft cloth or piece of gauze. As babies grow, introduce your child to brushing with a toothbrush designed for infants, adding a small, pea-sized dab of non-fluoridated or “training” toothpaste. By the age of 2 or 3, begin to teach your child to brush more adequately. You may still need to brush in places they miss.
Suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle for young children may include:
- Allowing your children to brush and floss your teeth
- Allowing your children to pick a few toothbrushes with their favorite characters and providing a choice of which brush to use each time
- Allowing your children to brush their own teeth first, then go over
- Reading children’s books about tooth brushing
- Having everyone brush their teeth at the same time
- Give praise
- Do not forget to brush the tongue
It is also helpful to create a “tooth brushing routine” and to stick to the same routine each day.