Independent
Brushing

Stage 3: Guide for 2-10 Years

Your child is at the glorious stage of independent oral care—congrats! That’s a big accomplishment (for child and parent!). Children need to keep up the brushing 2x daily and add flossing to their routine. Read on for more helpful tips.

Fluoride Facts
How to Brush
Losing Baby Teeth
Flossing
Motivating Your Child
Consider an Ortho Visit
Watch Outs

Fluoride Facts

Ever wonder what helps in the prevention of cavities? It’s fluoride! Most commonly found in toothpaste, fluoride is also found in drinking water. Most municipalities add it to their water supply as a matter of public health. Even with this extra boost, you need to make sure your child is getting the right amount.

How to Brush Teeth

Let’s explore brushing with fluoride toothpaste and how that helps ensure your child’s smile is strong and healthy. Here are 6 steps to ensure brushing becomes second nature to your child.

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Losing Baby Teeth

Around age 5 or 6, your child begins losing baby teeth and adult teeth appear! Between the ages of 6-12, your child will have a mix of both baby and adult teeth.

The bottom front adult teeth are usually the first to appear. Expect the last baby tooth to fall out around age 12. And by age 13, your child should be rocking a full set of 28 adult teeth (the 4 wisdom teeth come a bit later).

When Baby Teeth
Fall Out

Click the arrows in the diagram to see an estimated progression of losing baby teeth.

Download Diagram

Even though your child is brushing on their own, here’s how you can help.

Smile Inspection

Even if your child is brushing on their own, still check those chompers. Make sure they are brushing well and spitting out toothpaste.

How Much Fluoride?

While your child is now old enough for fluoride toothpaste, some dentists suggest a fluoride rinse, too. Ask your dentist at the next appointment.

Encouragement

Be generous with the verbal affirmation to inspire oral care. If your child is reluctant to brush, try talking about WHY brushing is important: it helps us look and feel better—and stay healthy!

How to Floss

Flossing can be tricky and the youngest lack the dexterity to twist and twirl a length of floss. Lend a helping hand but let them practice, too. Read on for flossing help.

How to Motivate Kids

If your child is anxious or avoids brushing and flossing, encourage your child’s oral-care routine with some clever and loving motivation.

Consider an Orthodontist Visit

Once your child’s adult teeth start to come in, consider a visit to the orthodontist. Even if they don't have all of their adult teeth, an orthodontist can look at uneven bites and overcrowding of teeth. Most orthodontists say an ideal age is 7 for the first visit. Going to an ortho doesn’t always mean braces. Here’s what to expect...

Watch Outs

Between 3-6 years old, your child is visiting a dentist every 6 months and learning oral-care habits. After age 6, it’s about protecting those permanent teeth with healthy dental habits.
Here are 4 things to watch.

Eagle Eye for Cavities

Keep an eye out for white spots or brown areas on your child’s teeth. Those are signs of cavities and should be checked by a dentist.

Mouth Guarded

If your child is into sports, ask your dentist about a protective mouth guard.

Power Floss

Brushing and flossing with braces is a pain in the brackets! Try a battery-powered toothbrush, such as Spinbrush™, or a water flosser, like Waterpik™, to avoid white spots on teeth when the braces come off.

Un-Gunk the Braces

When your child is rocking braces, there are SO MANY nooks and crannies to hide food particles. It’s super important to brush and rinse after meals and floss daily. Avoid foods that can damage braces like popcorn, hard or chewy candy, and gum.

Things to Remember

Daytime (After Meals):

Your child should independently brush for 2 minutes.
 

Night (Before Bed):

Floss first, then repeat the morning routine!
 

Reminder:

Change your child’s toothbrush 3 to 4 times a year.
 

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