When To Start Kids On Flossing and Brushing

As your Oregon City family dentist of choice, Dr. Johnson and the team frequently get questions from parents about when they should start brushing and flossing their young ones’ teeth. We wanted to take the time to help you understand the best oral health practices for babies, toddlers and kids so that you have the tools and knowledge to help their teeth remain healthy for years to come.

Starting Out

We recommend that you start brushing teeth just after they appear in a baby’s mouth. Even if they seem too small for a brush, you can “brush” their teeth with a clean washcloth on your fingers. Once they are old enough to comprehend, introducing a toothbrush and getting a solid brushing routine down can really help with oral health as they grow. Once a child has between two and four teeth, it’s a good time to start to floss their teeth for them. Visiting a dentist in the first two years is also highly recommended, not only to catch any beginning dental health issues, but also to help determine when to initiate flossing and brushing.

Look For Small Heads And Soft Bristles

When the time comes to pick out a toothbrush for your young child’s mouth, you will want to look for one with soft bristles and a small head, so they fit well in their small mouths. Before brushing, you can also take a second to warm up the head of the brush in warm water, which will further relax the toothbrush bristles. As for toothpaste, the American Dental Association advises to use a rice-sized grain of fluoridated toothpaste with your child’s first teeth, and to move that amount up to a pea-sized quantity after the child is three years old. When starting to floss, remember that there are many options like floss picks or floss sticks, which may be easier than traditional dental floss for young hands. Check with your Oregon City family dentist Dr. Brett Johnson for the best options in your child’s case.

Twice Daily For Two Or Three Minutes

Getting your children into the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day is also one of the best things you can do to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Just as important is making sure to spend a full two to three minutes each time you or they brush their teeth. Humming a favorite tune for this amount of time can be an easy trick to help this habit stick. There are even tooth brushing timers available as well. Dr. Johnson also recommends spending more time on a child’s molars when brushing or flossing as well, as cavities frequently appear here first.

Kids And Flossing

Flossing once a day with your children, once they have a couple teeth that are touching, is a great way to help your kids avoid unnecessary trips to the dentist. Remember that flossing requires a certain amount of dexterity with fingers and hands, so most kids will be 10 years or older before they can rally floss properly by themselves. Choosing a time in the day that works best for your child may also help instill the flossing habit. Some may like to floss before school, while others before bed. You can increase their participation in flossing by getting them involved with this decision.

If you have further questions about brushing or flossing with your child or any of other dental health issue, please contact us at Oregon City Dentistry today.