Anyone with children between the ages of one and three knows how much of a handful toddlers can be! The rapid growth, learning to walk and talk, and unbridled emotions are just a few reasons why the toddler years are commonly called the “terrible twos.”
This is also when teeth are coming in, only adding to the stress that toddlers and their parents have to deal with. During this time, it’s common for parents to ask both when and how to start brushing their toddler’s teeth.
This helpful guide provides practical information on when to start brushing baby teeth, steps to brush toddler teeth successfully, and tips to help the whole process go smoother.
When to Start Brushing Baby Teeth
Parents can establish brushing as soon as the first tooth comes in. Not only does this help your child get used to brushing, but it is also helpful for cavity prevention and oral health. Younger toddlers are learning to eat solid foods and need a healthy mouth and teeth to do so.
Establishing consistent brushing habits as early as possible is critical to your child’s long-term dental health.
3 Easy Steps for Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth
If the prospect of brushing a fussy toddler’s teeth seems daunting, don’t worry! There are just a few simple steps to follow:
- Use a small brush with soft bristles.
- Apply a small amount of children’s toothpaste to the brush, about the size of a grain of rice.
- Brush gently in a circular motion, brushing all teeth surfaces. Depending on how many teeth are in, this should take about two minutes.
Just like older children or adults, dentists recommend brushing toddler teeth twice daily.
Tips for Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth
Some toddlers will take to brushing more easily and naturally than others. To give your little one the best possible experience, follow these simple tips:
- Stay calm and make it fun
- Try to have a routine and brush at the same time every morning and night
- Role play brushing with toys and stuffed animals
- Play fun or relaxing music to set the mood
- Read your toddler books or watch fun videos about brushing your teeth
- Let toddlers pick out a toothbrush with a favorite character and toothpaste with their favorite flavor
- Brush your teeth with your child to show them what it looks like
For reluctant or very young toddlers, two adults can sit across each other with their child’s head in one lap and feet in the other. From there, one adult can gently open your toddler’s mouth and brush while the other adult holds their hands and soothes and distracts if needed.
When can toddlers start brushing on their own?
Every kid learns and develops at their own pace, so there is not one answer for when children can start brushing their teeth. Generally, parents should expect to assist with most brushing throughout the toddler years. Usually, children can begin to learn to hold a toothbrush and brush as early as age three, but they still may need lots of help. To ensure the best possible cavity protection, gum health, and a happy smile, continue to help your toddler brush and ensure they get all the surfaces of their teeth while brushing.
Good Habits for Oral Health in Toddlers and Young Children
There’s more to good oral health in toddlers than just brushing. Parents can also begin to floss toddler teeth with a plastic flosser as soon as children have two teeth next to each other. This can be done once a day, either in the morning or at night.
You should also establish a healthy, low-sugar diet from the beginning. The bacteria that causes tooth decay loves to eat the sugar that clings to teeth. Toddlers who drink sugary drinks, juice, and even milk from a bottle before bed can have an especially high risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Finally, it is essential to visit a pediatric dentist for checkups and examinations as early as you can. Dentists can give you further advice on brushing and flossing your toddler, check for early signs of tooth decay, make sure all teeth are coming in healthy, and recommend steps for cavity prevention. By finding the right pediatric dentist, you can develop the routine and habits to promote your toddler’s oral health.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!