Mastering Tooth Brushing Techniques: A Guide for Parents

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Building Proficiency in Tooth Brushing

In Early childhood developing proper tooth brushing techniques is essential! With a blend of patience, practice, and time, kids can get a step ahead and become highly skilled with a toothbrush and floss. Children under the age of 8 are still honing their fine motor skills, which are vital in tooth brushing.
Tooth brushing, like handwriting, is a skill that kids develop in their own time. Practice makes perfect but some kids need help for longer if their muscle tone or range of movement isn’t fully developed yet. Some can clean their own teeth effectively early. Others may need an adult to clean for them or to ‘finish the job’ after they’ve had a good turn themselves. In this article, we expand on insights and guidelines that can assist parents in guiding their young ones on the path to achieving proficient tooth brushing skills.

What age can they brush alone? Well how long is a piece of string?

Children generally start developing the fine motor skills necessary for effective tooth brushing around the age of eight years old. However, it is important to note that supervision is often required even past this age, until you are confident that they can proficiently clean their teeth on their own. 

Focusing on potential areas prone to decay, like the spaces between the back two molars, is crucial. This area should be cleaned with kids dental floss regularly, preventing the accumulation of plaque and the onset of decay. 50% of 6 year olds in Australia have a hidden cavity between their teeth, so flossing needs to begin early and be completed often.

Can your child complete other hand eye coordination skills well? Can they write neatly in cursive? Catch a ball with one hand? Use a sharp knife and fork to cut up their own dinner? Put their own hair into a ponytail? These are coordination skills that require a similar level of coordination to tooth brushing. If your child can’t perform these skills you need to help with plaque removal still. The age this occurs varies greatly from child to child even within the same family, but like all hand eye coordination skills, practice and supervision can help kids gain competency.

Spotting Plaque: Disclosing Tablets Transform Kids’ Tooth Brushing

Using plaque disclosing tablets (chewy tablets that dye germs and food pink or purple available at most chemists) will help give kids a target to help them see what it is they’re trying to brush or floss off the teeth.

Plaque camouflages, it’s tooth-coloured so sometimes kids are aimlessly moving the tooth brush around with no set outcome in mind hoping you’ll tell them they’re done. By helping them see the plaque you help them understand what movements will remove the plaque, and why they can’t rush. They’ll need to touch every part of every tooth to brush all of the dyed plaque away.

This also helps dispel arguments about whether they have done a good enough job – they’ll be arguing with science, not you the parent, so this will shift the conversation to one about outcome instead of effort. Instead of toothbrushing being a battle of the wills you can have a constructive conversation about science, not an argument about ‘long enough’.

Your Child’s Dental Partner

Our proficient team of kids smile dentists, oral health therapists and hygienists are well-versed in creating a nurturing and friendly environment, turning dental visits into positive and educational experiences for kids. 

Regular visits to our Grange road surgery, a trusted pillar in kids dental Brisbane, not only aids in monitoring your child’s dental progression but also instils a heightened sense of responsibility and awareness regarding maintaining vibrant smiles.

Remember, cultivating a favourable attitude towards tooth brushing at an early age lays the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Let’s collaborate to nurture a generation with impeccable dental health, heralding a future filled with bright and beautiful smiles!

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