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How Often Should Children Brush Their Teeth?

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How often should children brush their teeth?

Twice a day, but how well they brush their teeth – or how well you do it for them – is just the part of creating healthy oral care habits for kids. 

Good oral care in children is essential to starting a healthy lifetime habit. Just as you do – right? – your children should brush their teeth twice a day. Baby teeth typically make their appearance anytime between six and 12 months – and the time to start oral routine care is precisely when they show up. While baby teeth are temporary placeholders, keeping them healthy is very important for developing equally healthy adult teeth. 

Here are four key ways to instill good oral care habits in kids.

  • Guide Them From Gums to Teeth: Prior to their first teeth pushing through, it’s a good idea to clean an infant’s gums with a warm, wet washcloth once a day. After their chompers have come in, you should brush their new pearly whites at least twice a day. 
  • Get the Right Tools: You’ll want to purchase a soft-bristled child sized toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. For children under two, just a small smear of toothpaste is all you need. Children between the ages of 3-5 can graduate to a pea-sized amount. 
  • Circular Motions, Front and Back: Remember though, it’s not just about how often your child brushes his or her teeth, but also how well they do it. You’ll likely need to help them until they get the knack for gently scrubbing all of their teeth, front and back, in small circular motions. Help them grasp the motor function required by allowing them to hold onto the toothbrush while you guide. 
  • Skip the Water Rinse, for Now: While many of us are accustomed to rinsing our mouths with water after brushing, this can actually reduce the fluoride that’s so helpful in preventing tooth decay. Teach your child to spit out the extra toothpaste, but avoid getting into the habit of a water rinse until their adult teeth have grown in. 

© Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016

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