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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Getting Children to Brush Their Teeth
When your child's teeth first come in, you should clean them with a
soft cloth or gauze pad. As more teeth come in, brush your child's teeth with a
soft brush. Because too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child’s teeth, ask your doctor or dentist if it’s okay to use fluoride toothpaste. At 3 or 4 years of age, your child should be
able to learn to brush on his or her own with your help. By 8 years of age,
your child will probably no longer need your help. It is important that your
child make brushing a habit, as this limits
tooth decay and helps prevent
Although some children quickly learn to brush their teeth, others do
not. If you are having trouble getting your child to brush, try some of the
You can also involve your child in dental health by letting him or
her pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste. Talk to your dentist about the type
of toothbrush your child needs, and steer your child in that direction. When
choosing a toothpaste, stay clear of tartar-cleaning toothpastes, as they may
taste bad or "sting" a young child's mouth. Ask your child if he or she likes the toothpaste, and change it if
this is not the case.
Keep all fluoride products, such as toothpastes and mouthwashes, away from your child. Too much fluoride may be toxic and can stain a child’s teeth. Also, teach your children to spit out the toothpaste and not swallow
Most importantly, set a good example. Children imitate their parents,
and if your child sees that you don't brush, don't seem to enjoy brushing, or
do it too quickly, he or she might well do the same.
June 14, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
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