Brushing Children’s Teeth

Brushing Techniques for You and Your Child

  • Brush at least twice a day with a pea-size amount of appropriate adult/child fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use a soft nylon bristle brush with a small compact head.
  • Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the tooth and use a gentle scrubbing technique.
  • Brush the outer, the inner, and the biting surface of each tooth, including the part close to the gum line.
  • Use the front tip of the brush for the inner surface of the front teeth.
  • Apply light pressure while brushing. Tooth enamel can be worn down by vigorous scrubbing.
  • Encourage your child to brush for at least 2 minutes each time they clean their teeth.
  • Children under 7 will need help from an adult when cleaning their teeth.
  • For babies, wipe gums with soft cloth or gauze from the pharmacy and water in areas where the teeth have not yet appeared.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

There are so many brands of toothbrush available in many different colours, shapes and sizes; some even have musical timers to ensure correct length of brushing time. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice.

  • Choose a child size toothbrush with soft, round-tipped, nylon bristles. Stiff or sharp bristles can injure gum and wear down tooth enamel.
  • Choose a size and a shape that is comfortable and lets your child reach every surface of every tooth. A small compact head is best.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush when the bristle look bent or worn, usually every two to three months or more frequently if your child wears the bristles more quickly.
  • Bring your child with you and help them select their own tooth-brush. A brightly coloured, ‘fun’ toothbrush may encourage your child to brush.
  • Electric tooth-brushes are becoming very popular with children and are very effective.