Brush, Brush, Brush Those Little Teeth

By Dr. Chasity Henry, pediatrician, ThedaCare Physicians-Pediatrics in Appleton.

Some kids are great with brushing their teeth and other are more of a challenge. Some things to consider:

  • It's now recommended that toothpaste for children 6 months and older contain fluoride. No more training toothpastes! Children 6 months to 3 years should use a smear or a rice-grain size of toothpaste and those 3-6 years should use a pea-sized amount. Many of us are drinking filtered or purified or bottled water and our kids aren't getting the fluoride they need.
  • Make up a tooth brushing song. It's a nice distraction for children and helps them and you gauge how much longer they will need to be patient.
  • Take turns. Infants and toddlers like to chew on the toothbrush and older toddlers and small children like to be independent but the recommendation is that parents help children brush teeth until school age. This is a long time but is based on developing fine motor skills. Make sure your child understands that you will have a turn to brush teeth and then he or she can practice brushing.