Begin teaching daily brushing habits as the first tooth appears.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), parents should use no more than a smear or rice-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children less than three years of age to decrease the risk of fluorosis. Using no more than a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste is appropriate for children aged three to six.
By age 4 or 5, children will be able to brush their own teeth twice a day with supervision and begin working on spitting. Certainly, each child is different, and Dr. Riehs can help you determine whether the child is brushing properly.
When done properly, brushing removes plaque from the inner and outer parts of the teeth, and the chewing surfaces. When teaching children to brush, place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle; start along gum line with a soft bristle brush in a gentle circular motion. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower. Repeat the same method on the inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all the teeth. Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen breath and remove bacteria.
Flossing is also a great habit to begin. It removes plaque between the teeth, where a toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch. You should floss the child’s teeth for them, until they are old enough to do it alone.
Caring for your child's teeth