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Close up of young child brushing her teeth

Five Toothbrushing Tips for Kids

By: Dr. Erica Pelletier, General Booth Pediatrics

Because every child is different, some may need specialized guidance when learning to brush their teeth. Being consistent as your child learns to brush will encourage good oral hygiene throughout their life.

Choose the right toothbrush

Choose a brush specifically designed for babies or children that is soft-bristled.

Teach your child how to hold their toothbrush

Your child should hold their toothbrush overhanded and with a firm grip to be able to brush effectively. If your child is having difficulty holding a toothbrush, try a toothbrush with a thicker handle. You can make the handle thicker at home by putting it inside a tennis ball.

Teach your child how to brush

Breaking the brushing process down into small steps can help your child learn and practice. If needed, ask your pediatrician on the proper steps for brushing. You can also place your own hand over your child’s to guide the toothbrush as they brush.

Use toothpaste with fluoride

Be sure to pick toothpaste with fluoride that tastes good to your child, and always have an adult place the toothpaste on the toothbrush.

  • For children under age 3: Use a small dab of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
  • For children ages 3–6: Use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • If your child cannot spit: Have your child tilt their mouth down so that the toothpaste can dribble out into the sink, a cup, or a washcloth. Always ensure that your child is not swallowing the toothpaste. When they are old enough, start to remind them to spit after brushing.

Make brushing fun

Try to make brushing fun! Use a timer, a short song, or counting as a game to encourage brushing for two minutes. Routines that encourage consistency will stay with them into their adolescence.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.