A Dentist’s Guide to Brushing Teeth for Kids

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child does not have to be one of the 42 percent of children aged two to 11 who have tooth decay. By learning where to start when teaching children to brush their teeth, you can ensure that your children develop great oral hygiene habits and prevent untreated decaying teeth.

So, how long should children brush their teeth?

Morning and bedtime routines can already feel rushed with young children, but it is very important to make sure they are brushing their teeth for at least 2 whole minutes. Skimping out on brushing time will be detrimental to their dental health. Making the effort to make sure they are (or you are, depending on their age) taking the time to brush for two minutes will potentially save future dental problems like cavities or gum disease!

How often should children be brushing their teeth?

A good rule of thumb would be to make sure your child is brushing their teeth at least twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. However, it is ideal for both children and adults to brush their teeth after every meal! You can pack a toothbrush for your child to bring to school so they can brush their teeth after they eat lunch.

What are some good teeth brushing songs for kids?

For infants and toddlers...

  • Baby Shark
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Old MacDonald Had a Farm
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star


Any nursery rhyme or popular kids’ songs will do – as long as they are two minutes long and your child enjoys them!

Here are 4 easy steps to brush teeth for kids

  1. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush
  2. Brush should be held by you or your child at a 45-degree angle
  3. Brush in small circles, reaching every part of the tooth – front, back, top, and sides
  4. Don’t forget the tongue!


Some tips on how to actually get your child to brush their teeth would be to brush your teeth with them so they are modeling themselves after you, “brushing” a stuffed animal’s teeth beforehand to show them it’s fine, or using two adults – one to distract the child while the other one does the actual brushing.

FAQs About How to Brush Children's Teeth

You should brush your child’s teeth until they are about 7-8 years old since up until then they lack the manual dexterity to properly do it themselves.

You can teach your toddler to brush their teeth by brushing your teeth with them every time, as well as using stuffed animals as a model.

If you do not brush children’s teeth, many harmful effects can go beyond just dental health. Lack of brushing can cause bacteria in the body that can lead to inflammation and disease, which can spread throughout the whole body and not just the mouth.

Yes! Wetting before softens the toothbrush bristles and rinses off any debris. Also, wetting after ensures the toothpaste melts into your toothbrush so it doesn’t roll off.

Try to make it a fun experience by bringing in their favorite toy, singing a song, and just let them take charge so it doesn’t feel forced.

At least twice a day but ideally after every meal.

You do not need to begin brushing with a toothbrush or toothpaste until your infant’s teeth begin to grow in.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria and other things. It can happen when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are left on the teeth. Such foods include milk, soda, raisins, candy, cake, fruit juices, cereals, and bread.

Brushing Your Child’s Teeth is Important to their Overall Health

Brushing your child’s teeth may not be the easiest task for a parent, but these tips should do the trick in helping you and your child brush their teeth! It is a vital part of their overall health and will enable them to have thriving, healthy teeth into adulthood. Making sure they are engaged and focusing on their brushing will help them practice a good habit they will carry on as they get older!

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