When Do I Start Brushing My Child’s Teeth?

Instilling good dental habits in your kids starts even earlier than many parents realize. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry responds to the “when to start” question with “The sooner the better!”

Before teeth arrive, Dr. Schmidt recommends wiping your child’s mouth and gums with a clean, damp toothbrush made for infants a couple of times a day.  This will help set the stage for good brushing habits once your child has teeth.

When your child has teeth:

Once the first tooth erupts, have your child visit your Boise dentist for their first check-up. Dr. Schmidt and team  likes to see your children when the first tooth comes in, or by their first birthday.

Once your child’s teeth start to appear, you can begin brushing two times per day, using fluoridated toothpaste. Yep, that’s right, if teeth are present, Dr. Schmidt recommends using fluoridated toothpaste. 

Age 0-3yo

Only a small smear of fluoridated toothpaste (or the size of a grain of rice) twice a day is needed if your child is under three years old.

Age 3yo and Older

Once the child celebrates his or her third birthday, your Boise dentist Dr. Schmidt recommends using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day.

Who does the brushing?

Of course it is important that you monitor your child’s tooth brushing closely to help educate about proper techniques. Your Boise dentist Dr. Schmidt recommends that parents brush for their kids until he or she is 8 years old.  This is because children don’t have the manual dexterity to do an adequate job until 8 years of age.  To teach your child proper technique and independence, have them brush first and have a parent finish at the end.

For young kids, tooth brushing can be made into a fun event, and you can find a multitude of special toothbrushes that appeal to kids. The trick to choosing the right toothbrush is to get one that your child is excited about, made specifically for your child’s age group, and one that has soft bristles.

And maybe have fun in the dental isle at the store—pick a uniquely flavored or colored toothpaste that might encourage your child to get into the brushing game!

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