Brushing & Flossing Instructions

Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children.  Both adults and children should use brushes with soft bristles designed for a gentle cleaning.  Switch to a new toothbrush about every 3 months.


  • Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft cloth and water
  • As soon as your child’s teeth erupt, brush them with a  soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Under the age of 3, use a small “smear” or rice grain sized of toothpaste (fluoridated) – it is safe if they swallow this very tiny amount
  • For 3-5 year olds, use a “pea-sized” amount of toothpaste.  They should spit it out and not swallow this amount of toothpaste.
  • Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
  • Parents should brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to do a good job on their own
  • Supervise your child’s brushing and flossing until they are 7-8 years old

Helpful hints for Toddlers: For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Here are some suggestions for making toothbrushing less of a battle.

  • Let your child brush your teeth at the same time – Everyone brushes together!
  • Let your child pick out a few toothbrushes with their favorite characters on them.  Sometimes giving them a choice of which one they want to use each time will give them some feeling of control over the situation.
  • Let your child brush their won teeth first (we recommend you follow up with brushing when they are done, to be sure they are not missing plaque and food debris)
  • Let your child read some children’s books about tooth brushing

It is a great idea to create a “tooth brushing routine” and stick to the same routine each day!


  • Flossing removes plaque between teeth and under the gumline where a toothbrush cannot reach
  • Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch
  • Floss your child’s teeth daily until he or she can do it a lone

What is the best toothpaste for my child?

When looking for a toothpaste for your child, be sure to pick one that is recommended by the American Dental Association on the box and tube.  Always use fluoride toothpaste.  Use a rice-grained sized for children who cannot spit (1-3 years old) and pea-sized amount for older children that can spit out and not swallow the toothpaste.