When Can My Child Start Brushing On Their Own?

Frisco Mini Molars

When Can My Child Start Brushing On Their Own?

Hi, I’m Dr. Laura Mitchell at Frisco Mini Molars!

One of the questions I often get from parents is “How old does a child need to be in order to brush adequately on their own?”

The answer is pretty surprising, as children typically aren’t ready to start brushing on their own until they’re 7 or 8 years old! The reason? Kids just don’t quite have the dexterity to brush on their own until they’re that age. You’ll want to make sure you help them until they’re old enough.

Additionally, a lot of parents have questions about the best way to help their children brush their teeth at home. It definitely can be difficult at times, as I my son is currently 3 years old and VERY strong-willed, so teeth brushing is a bit of a chore even for me. (Considering that this is what I do for a living!)

There are a few ways to effectively brush your child’s teeth at home, and some methods may be easier than others. The way that has worked best for me is sitting down and holding my son’s head in my lap so I can look down into his mouth as I help him brush. I’ll retract his lips and move his cheeks out of the way with a free hand so I can see what I’m doing, making sure I’m getting the teeth thoroughly clean.

We also have a lion puppet here at our office – and as funny as it looks, HE also has a full set of teeth! Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite 🙂 I’ll use him as a visual reference to show how I maneuver the toothbrush around the mouth, properly cleaning every nook and cranny. You’ll want to make sure you brush in three main areas on each row of teeth: along the cheek side where food can get trapped, on the top side (especially on the molars near the back of the mouth) on their chewing surfaces, and then on the inside next to the tongue. Lastly, help your child establish a routine brushing every day to help promote good habits for when they’re old enough to do it on their own!

As always, if you have any questions or if you’re looking for a dentist for your child, please do not hesitate to call us! We’d love to get you on our schedule and answer any questions you may have.

– Dr. Laura Mitchell