Toothbrushing for Children (Age 0 to 5)

Parents should be aware that children also need to take care of their teeth as well. People commonly think that because children have “baby teeth” that will fall out eventually, they can get away with not brushing them as well. In reality, parents need to help their children brush their teeth properly and ensure that they develop good oral hygiene habits.

  • Allow your children to brush their own teeth first and assist them to ensure they are doing it correctly.
  • Be sure to help your children brush their teeth again once they are done brushing them once.
  • Children need smaller toothbrushes with soft or ultra-soft bristles; ones that are fitting for the size of their teeth and hands.
  • Prior to a child’s first birthday, it is recommended that parents bring their child into a dental clinic to consult a dental professional about risks of their child developing tooth decay.
  • Dental visits allow children to be familiar with the atmosphere of the dental office; and give dentists an opportunity to examine the oral cavity to assess risks the child my have.

It is vital that parent teach their children the importance of toothbrushing. As soon as teething begins, so much toothbrushing. It is also a good idea to use to moist towel to wipe down the child’s gums after feeding, even when no teeth are present yet. The following is an activity that parents may use to enforce toothbrushing in children between the age of 0 to 5.

Step 1: Explain

  • Often tell your child the benefits of letting you brush their teeth
  • Develop a habit of explaining the reasons for toothbrushing to them; with time, they will understand
  • Use a story to explain the process of dental cavity formation to your child

For Example: Tell the child that there are sugar bugs running around in the mouth and will make a house in their teeth if they don’t brush them well. The sugar bugs like to build a house big enough for their family. They get married and have babies and as the cavity bugs have more babies, the house will get larger. The house becomes black or a dark brown colour.

Step 2: Modeling

It is also very important to let the child see you, your spouse and his/her siblings brush their teeth daily in the morning and before bed. Children are more likely to learn from modeling older people.

Step 3: Forcing the Habit

If the child is not cooperate after repeated explanation and demonstration, here is a healthy method that can be used to help you brush the teeth of your child.

1) Although it may sound harsh, you must pin your child down first. You may do this by yourself or with a helper.

Two people: One person will hold the 4 limbs of the child, the other will stabilize the head and stick a finger to the very back of the teeth area to prop the mouth open. There is a gum pad behind the last tooth of the lower jaw. Even if the child closes his/her mouth, it will not hurt the adult finger as long as it is over the gum pad. With the head still and the mouth propped open, one can use the free hand to brush and floss the teeth. Perform this technique several hours after the child eats to avoid a throw up of food.

One person: Lay the child down in a way that you can pin him/her down between your thighs. In this way, the child’s hand and legs are behind you. Your knees should be next to the child’s ears to stabilize the head. Be sure not to press too hard on the child as your weight could cause injury to the child. You may then freely brush the child’s teeth for him/her.

It may take 10 to 50 times of repetition before a child realizes that resistance is futile and begin to submit nicely to brushing. Once this state is achieved, then the child’s teeth should be brushed after meals, before coming to bed and after waking up in the morning.

How to brush and floss teeth:

  • Brush along the gum line at a 45 degree angle
  • Use gentle back and forth motion for 15 seconds on each location
  • Brushing only cleans 50% of the teeth, flossing completes the other 50% of the surfaces between teeth
  • Remember to floss the last surface behind the last teeth in the mouth.

If you have any questions about proper oral hygiene for yourself or your children, please visit Brisebois Dental Care and our team of professionals will be happy to assist you.