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Teaching your child how to brush their teeth

Not only is it important that your children get into a regular oral hygiene routine, but also that they are taught the correct brushing techniques.  You will need to help your child with their brushing until they are around 7 or 8 years old, and it is recommended that you continue to supervise them for a couple of years after they start brushing and flossing themselves.

  • Brushing. Your child’s teeth should be brushed twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste using small circular motions.  As children tend to miss some areas, make sure that all surfaces of the teeth and gums are cleaned.  You could put in place a specific routine that you follow to ensure that all teeth are cleaned thoroughly.  They need to brush for at least two minutes and you should teach them to spit out the toothpaste, rather than swallow it.
  • Make it fun. Some children may not enjoy the teeth cleaning process, or may even just be having a bad day, so there are ways that you can encourage them.  Special kid’s toothbrushes with characters, bright colours, attractive shapes or that light up can entice them.  Play a special song, or make one up yourself!  You could set up an egg timer for two minutes, or there are phone apps available that have a built-in timer.  You child’s favourite soft toy or doll could join in the fun and have their teeth brushed too!
  • Rewards. Rewarding your child for a good brushing job is a great motivator, even if it’s just a verbal “Well done”.  You could set up a star chart for daily brushing with your child collecting stickers for a set period of time with a special reward at the end, such as a new toy or trip somewhere special.  The phone apps mentioned above also provide positive reinforcement for your child with stickers and awards.

If you are having any difficulties with your child’s oral health care, consult your dentist who will be able to offer you advice and help ease your concerns.