Helping your kids establish strong oral hygiene habits is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. In fact, oral hygiene can begin as early as infancy by gently brushing the gums between feedings. As your child grows into the preschool years, you should continue to brush for them. However, by the time your child enters elementary school, you’ll likely hear that they want to do the job alone. This is a common question among parents: when do I let my child start brushing without me?
The truth is, to be done well, tooth brushing requires a certain level of dexterity and coordination. Each child is different, and some may be able to master the task by six years old while others may be eleven years old before they can brush properly. A good rule of thumb is that if your child can tie his or her own shoe, they are likely ready for independent brushing.
If you’ve decided to relinquish the task to your child, it is important that you still maintain an active role in their oral health and even supervise them until you are sure they are brushing adequately. Your child should brush for two minutes, twice a day. Educate them on the proper techniques of tooth brushing, which include gentle strokes on all surfaces of their teeth down to the gum line. In addition, be sure they know that only a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste is needed. Lastly, don’t forget the floss. Handheld flossing tools are great for kids!
At Bencaz Family Dentistry, we love kids! Our pediatric dental services include educating parents and children about proper brushing habits at home. If you have concerns about your child’s teeth or want to be sure they are okay to start brushing solo, please give us a call to schedule an appointment.