Teaching Children How to Clean Teeth

Teaching Children How to Clean Teeth

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for children to ensure healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives. Teaching children how to clean teeth properly is a crucial step in their dental care routine. Here are the steps to help children learn how to clean their teeth effectively.

Step 1: Choose the Right Tools

Begin by selecting the right tools for teeth cleaning. Children should have a soft-bristle toothbrush that is appropriately sized for their age and a fluoride toothpaste recommended by their dentist. Ensure the toothbrush is comfortable for their small hands to hold.

Step 2: Demonstrate the Technique

Demonstrate the proper teeth-cleaning technique for your child. Show them how to hold the toothbrush, the angle at which to position it, and the gentle circular motion to use while brushing. Emphasize the importance of cleaning all tooth surfaces, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces.

Step 3: Use a Pea-Sized Amount of Toothpaste

Guide your child in applying a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush. Excessive toothpaste can lead to unnecessary foaming and difficulty in spitting it out, especially for younger children.

Step 4: Brush Twice a Day

Teach your child the importance of brushing their teeth at least twice a day – once in the morning and once before bedtime. Establishing this routine early helps make teeth cleaning a habit.

Step 5: Set a Timer

Encourage your child to brush for a minimum of two minutes during each session. You can use a timer or a fun brushing timer app with music or graphics to make it enjoyable for them.

Step 6: Supervise and Assist

Supervise your child's teeth cleaning until you are confident they can do it on their own effectively. Younger children may need your assistance to ensure they cover all areas of their mouth.

Step 7: Teach Proper Rinsing and Spitting

Show your child how to rinse their mouth with water after brushing. Teach them to spit out the toothpaste completely and not to swallow it. This step is crucial in preventing fluoride ingestion, which can lead to dental fluorosis.

Step 8: Emphasize Gentle Brushing

Highlight the importance of gentle brushing to prevent gum irritation and enamel damage. Children should avoid aggressive brushing, which can harm their teeth and gums.

Step 9: Floss Daily

As soon as your child's teeth start to touch each other, introduce them to dental floss. Teach them how to use floss to clean between teeth and remove food particles and plaque.

Step 10: Visit the Dentist Regularly

Schedule regular dental check-ups for your child, typically every six months. These visits help identify any dental issues early and provide professional cleaning and guidance for oral care.

Step 11: Reward and Positive Reinforcement

Offer praise and encouragement when your child follows the teeth cleaning routine consistently. You can also establish a reward system to motivate them further.

Step 12: Lead by Example

Children often mimic their parents' behavior, so it's essential to set a good example by maintaining your own oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss your teeth together to make it a family activity.


Teaching children how to clean teeth is an important aspect of their overall health and well-being. By following these steps and making teeth cleaning an enjoyable and educational experience, you can help your child develop lifelong habits for maintaining clean teeth and good oral hygiene.