How to Teach Dental Care to Kids

Teaching children about dental care and dental hygiene provides a solid foundation for lifelong oral health. Proper dental care begins with the first tooth and requires regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and routine procedures. Emphasize the importance of oral health by setting a good example for your children and engaging in good dental habits.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Calendar
  • Stickers


    • 1

      Brush your child’s teeth starting when they are between 12 and 18 months old. Pay special attention to the molars to dislodge any food particles.

    • 2

      Start flossing your child's teeth at age 1 or 2 when two teeth begin to touch.

    • 3

      Introduce fluoride-enriched toothpaste at age 3. Show your child how to spit out toothpaste by swishing water in their mouth and spitting.

    • 4

      Allow children to brush their own teeth at age 4 with supervision.

    • 5

      Teach your child proper tooth-brushing technique, showing them how to go up and down and use circular strokes at the gum line.

    • 6

      Encourage your child to brush thoroughly and reach the back teeth.

    • 7

      Maintain a routine of brushing your child’s teeth two to three times a day.

    • 8

      Examine your child’s teeth when they finish brushing to ensure that no food remains, especially in difficult to reach spots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many dentists suggest supervising children’s tooth-brushing techniques until the age of 8.
  • Healthy eating habits contribute to healthy teeth and gums. Avoid foods that lack proper nutrition to avoid the formation of cavities.
  • Let your child choose toothpaste in a flavor that they like to make dental hygiene more appealing.
  • Let your child choose a toothbrush that is easy for them to use.
  • Use a reward system, such as a calendar with stickers, to keep your child interested in brushing and flossing.
  • Set an example by brushing and flossing regularly, as well as keeping up with family dentist appointments.
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  • Photo Credit Noah Clayton/Photodisc/Getty Images

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