2-5 years of age
- Brushing teeth – when your child is between the ages of 2-5, you should brush your preschooler’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste…once after breakfast and once at night immediately before bedtime. The last thing your child’s teeth should touch before going to bed and for the rest of the night is the toothpaste from their brush. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and smear it into the bristles with your finger to minimize the chance of swallowing the toothpaste. Brush your preschooler’s teeth for approximately two minutes each time. Teach your child to “spit out” the toothpaste as soon as possible but don’t rinse after brushing. This will allow a little fluoride to be left behind to strengthen teeth overnight.
- Proper toothpaste: for very young children (ages 2-3), avoid sweet-tasting children’s toothpaste that your child may be more apt to swallow. Instead use a pea-sized amount of fluoride free adult toothpaste.
- Supervision during teeth brushing – young children should always be supervised while brushing and should be taught to spit out rather than to swallow toothpaste. You should brush your child’s teeth until they are 10 years old because your child lacks the manual dexterity to properly do so by themselves until that age. Brushing should last for approximately two minutes. Once you have observed that your child can properly brush on his/her own, watch them brush independently then you should check their teeth by following with a light brushing afterwards to be sure they have reached all the areas of their mouth.
- Flossing – flossing should begin when the first teeth erupt. Establishing this habit partnered with tooth brushing develops a good habit for life. Soon after the first teeth erupt they will be touching. Molars usually begin touching at ages 3-5. At this point, food and plaque can easily get trapped between the teeth, leading to cavities. Flossing early and throughout life will help to prevent decay.
If you’ve been remiss in visits or flossing, MG Dental does not shame you. Instead, they encourage to make better habits. Great for kids, too. They encouraged me to bring my daughter in to watch my appointment so it would be so strange when she was ready for her first appointment. The hygienist I see, Stacey, is always great.
– Erica H.