When Can Children Brush Their Own Teeth?

Dentist Blog

Although children may want to have a go at cleaning their own teeth from a young age, you shouldn't hand over this responsibility completely until you're sure they're doing it right. Kids develop the skills they need to clean their teeth well at different ages, and you may need to help them out for a while after they start to brush their own teeth.

Can Your Child Handle a Toothbrush?

Kids can't clean their teeth correctly until they have the manual dexterity to hold a toothbrush and guide it around their mouth. According to the Raising Children Network, many children start to take over the process once they reach school age. 

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't allow younger kids to have a go before then. Some are adept enough to clean their teeth earlier; others may simply want to try for themselves. In either case, you should supervise their cleaning and, if they are too young or not developed enough to do a good job, you should then finish off the process for them. According to Healthdirect Australia, you should be prepared to supervise teeth cleaning, giving help when needed, until children are at least 7.

Does Your Child Understand How to Clean Teeth?

Children don't automatically know how to clean their teeth, even if they have the ability to use a toothbrush. Some kids will remember how you clean their teeth and mimic that; others may need more instruction. For example, you may need to encourage them to do the following:

  • Clean their back teeth as well as their front ones.
  • Clean the back of their teeth as well as the front.
  • Clean the gum line as well as the bottom of their teeth.

Is Your Child Doing a Good Job?

Once kids can wield a toothbrush and know how they should be cleaning their teeth, you can let them take over the process. However, you should still keep an eye on how they are doing – once the initial excitement of independent tooth cleaning has worn off, some kids may slack off a little. According to Healthdirect Australia, it's a good idea to check your child's teeth every few days once they start independent cleaning.

Tip: Kids can get a bit blasé about brushing their teeth once they take over the process. If your child isn't following your instructions on how to clean correctly, ask a dentist (such as one from Collins Dental Image​) to go over good brushing techniques during your next check-up. Children sometimes zone out parental instructions but will take advice from other adults, especially if these adults point out areas of concern that aren't being cleaned correctly. 


29 January 2016

Fillings: Everything You Need to Know

Hi! Welcome to my blog! My name is Kerry, and this blog is focused on dental fillings. It looks at the history of fillings, options for contemporary fillings, how to protect your fillings, when to replace them and much more. If you have ever had a cavity filled or if you are planning to get a tooth filled, you will find the information in this blog useful. I try to look at fillings from all angles, and I even plan to look at how to avoid fillings through proper dental hygiene and sealants. Thanks for reading, and I hope you find the info intellectually "filling."