Tooth cleaning

Brushing & Flossing Instructions

Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months.

When you see your infant’s first teeth beginning to come in, start cleaning them by gently wiping with a moist, soft washcloth.. As they erupt further, use a child’s toothbrush with a very small dab of fluoride toothpaste. Between age two and three begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to do a “grown-up brushing” at bedtime, focusing on areas that are generally missed (the cheek and tongue sides of the back molars, and around the gums). Hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle towards teeth and gums. Move the toothbrush back and forth with short circular strokes, about a half tooth wide.

  • Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.
  • Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
  • Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
  • Floss daily between any teeth that are touching each other
  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises using a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste (less than a grain of rice) from the time the first tooth erupts, and we concur with this recommendation
  • Once your child can reliably spit out, increase to using a pea-sized amount of fluoride paste.
  • Young children should always be supervised while dispensing toothpaste and brushing.
  • It is always a good idea to create a “toothbrushing routine” and stick with it each day.

Tips for getting toddlers to brush

  • Let your child read some children’s books about tooth brushing.
  • Have everyone in the family brush their teeth at the same time.
  • Let your child pick out a few toothbrushes with their favorite characters, and give them a choice of which one they want to use each time.
  • Let your young child brush their own teeth first, and then go in to find the “sugar bugs” that are still hiding in their mouth.
  • There are numerous toothbrushing apps which many parents have found to be helpful in motivating their children.  You can check them out on your phone or tablet’s app store.

To help your child understand the importance of brushing, it can be sometimes fun and helpful to let them eat or drink something that will “stain“ their teeth temporarily and then brush them clean.  We give out special “disclosing tablets” at the office which are useful for this.

Keep in mind there will be “good days” and “not so good days.”  This is normal.  The most important thing is to maintain the routine.  It may take time, but eventually you will be pleasantly surprised to find you have a happy brusher!