Teaching Kids to Brush Their Teeth and Floss Correctly

Worried that your kids aren't brushing and flossing the correct way? Follow these 4 tips to make sure your child is developing good oral care habits.

1. Show Kids That Brushing Their Teeth Takes Time

  • Minimum recommended time for brushing teeth is 2 minutes, according to most dentists.
  • Set a timer or play a song to make sure they brush long enough.

2. Go Over the Basics of Brushing Teeth

  • Brush every tooth, every time.
  • Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle gently against the gum line.
  • Brush from the base of the tooth to the chewing surface.
  • Use short, round strokes for the front and back of teeth.
  • Use short, sweeping strokes for the chewing surfaces.
  • Be consistent in brushing across each tooth.
  • Brush the tongue and roof of the mouth from back to front.

3. Teach the Finer Points of Flossing

  • Floss once daily to remove particles between teeth.
  • Start flossing your child's teeth once the teeth are too close together for the bristle of a toothbrush to easily fit between them.
  • Correctly hold the floss by winding about 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand. Pinch the floss between the thumb and index finger.
  • Gently insert the floss between two teeth using a back and forth motion. Curve the floss around each tooth in a C shape and move it up and down each tooth.
  • Use a clean piece of floss for each tooth.

4. Change Their Toothbrushes

  • Change your child's toothbrushes 3 to 4 times a year.
  • Let them pick brushes featuring their favorite characters.
  • Try fun, kid-friendly flavors of toothpaste.
  • Pick brushes made just for kids with soft bristles and wider handles made for little hands.

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