Annie L. Zimmer, M.D.
Brushing Your Child's Teeth
It is never too early to start brushing your children's teeth, especially when they have teeth. You can even start before the teeth are there. You can just wash their gums with a little bit of water and a wash cloth and it'll help get your baby used to getting their teeth brushed. For toddlers you definitely want to start, and I always tell people, start with evening for sure. Brushing their teeth after the last bottle or food for the day and then as you master that, start doing it twice a day.
I always recommend starting with the child practicing brushing the teeth and getting to play with the tooth brush and pretend like they are doing it and then you can kind of follow up and make sure they are getting all the spots yourself.
Sometimes it's easier to have them lie down when you brush their teeth just because it is a little less scary to have something going into their mouth. Do the best you can and then strive for two minutes but that might be a couple years down the road after you first start.
Toothpaste is probably a good idea starting at age one if you don't have fluoride in your water and if you do have fluoride in your water, then age two we would recommend a grain of rice size amount of toothpaste on a toothbrush. And then after age three you can use a pea sized amount. It's ok to use any adult toothpaste over the age of three as long as they are able to spit it out.
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