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How Long Should Kids Brush Their Teeth?

A baby girl learning to brush her teeth

Comprehensive dental care is an essential part of a child’s health. From the day that an infant’s first tooth erupts, parents can reinforce healthy dental hygiene habits, including brushing teeth. 

The length of time that a child should brush their teeth is 2-3 minutes, at least twice a day. Of course, getting kids to consistently brush their teeth can be a challenge for any parent or caregiver! 

The Importance of Getting Kids to Brush Their Teeth

At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry, we spend a lot of time talking with our patients and their parents about the importance of teeth brushing. Why? Because dental hygiene can make all the difference in a child’s dental and overall health. 

Because of all of these facts, it is vitally important to get kids to brush their teeth well and to brush them consistently! 

Children brushing teeth together

The Basics of Teeth Brushing for Kids

To prepare your child for a lifetime of good oral health, start the habit of twice-daily teeth brushing in infancy.

You should use a very small amount of toothpaste for infants and toddlers. After your child reaches their third birthday, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. 

Before your child can brush their own teeth, you will have to do it for them. Use a child-sized toothbrush to cover the surfaces of each tooth, including the front, back, and sides of the teeth.

You should use a circular brushing motion. Teach your child to spit the toothpaste into the sink when they are finished. Rinsing with water afterwards is optional; there can be drawbacks to rinsing because it can possibly rinse away the fluoride before it has time to work. 

When your child is old enough to brush their teeth on their own, you can support healthy brushing by standing with them and supervising. 

Young children need to be taught the following important guidelines for teeth brushing:

Children can usually brush completely independently, without supervision, by the time they reach their 7th birthday. 

Teach your child to brush their teeth for 2-3 minutes every time, and develop a habit of brushing at least twice a day: once in the morning and once before bed. 

Do I need to use toothpaste that is designed specifically for children?

Many of our patients ask: Do I need to use toothpaste that is designed for children? 

We can always recommend or review specific brands of toothpaste when you come in for your appointment, but the short answer is that kids’ toothpaste is formulated for children’s needs. 

Children’s toothpaste has less fluoride to avoid too much fluoride exposure, which can cause white spots on the teeth. 

Mother and daughter brushing teeth

Ideas for Getting Kids to Brush Their Teeth

We recently published a blog post about how to get kids to consistently brush their teeth and do a good job. The unfortunate fact is that some children will never want to brush their teeth, but it’s still important to develop this important essential habit! 

In our blog post, we shared 8 tips. The basics are as follows:

  1. Get the pre-party started
  2. Create a routine
  3. Better brushing together
  4. Let them practice
  5. Use the power of stories and characters
  6. Give the gift of choice
  7. Make dental hygiene literally rewarding
  8. Play mirror-mirror

You can read about these strategies in more detail here

More ways to protect your child’s oral health

Good brushing habits are just one way to protect and improve your child’s oral health. 

At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry, our patients receive comprehensive dental care, including preventive care. Regular visits to the dentist for exams and cleanings will help to keep your child’s teeth healthy and bright! 

In addition to brushing, your child should be learning to floss effectively. 

Finally, practice good hygiene habits when it comes to what your child eats and drinks. Avoid too many sugary foods and beverages if you want to avoid both cavities and staining. Of course, we also recommend an extra brushing session if your child has just enjoyed some sugary snacks or drinks. 

Ashburn Children’s Dentistry Provides Comprehensive Dental Care to Kids in Ashburn

We have been helping kids maintain their healthy smiles for more than 20 years at Ashburn Children’s Dentistry. Our services are based on an important truth: kids deserve to feel safe and secure while visiting the dentist! From the moment you and your child walk through our door, we prioritize your comfort and peace of mind! 

Contact us to set up an appointment today.