11 Jan How to brush your teeth for kids 2-8 Years Old
Age specific advice for 2-8 year old kids
What parents need to know
- Parents should brush the child’s teeth every time until the age of eight
- Let your child brush themselves at each session, and then you go in afterwards
- Pro-tip: get plaque-disclosing tablets and use those a few times. Kids at this age get so many tangible chores—putting toys away or getting their shoes on. Using a plaque-disclosing tablet lets kids actually see the results of their work when they brush their teeth. (This is perfect for kids who enjoy games!)
How should I choose a toothbrush?
✅ Have soft bristles: Kids have extra sensitive gums. Soft bristles are extra important since kids this age don’t have great technique, and abrasive bristles especially can do damage, even gum recession. Look for “extra soft” on the packaging. I also like to do a “thumb test,” where I press on the brush head with my thumb to make sure the bristles feel super soft.
✅ Be designed for kids, not adults: An adult-sized toothbrush head will cause gagging and will be too big to get into the little spaces in smaller mouths.
✅ Be manual: Many people don’t know this, but kids electric toothbrushes can cause damage if used incorrectly. I recommend you start with manual first, get comfortable with it, and only then consider introducing an electric brush (slowly).
When should I introduce an electric toothbrush?
If the family budget allows for it, a child ideally gets both a manual and an electric brush. A manual toothbrush will reinforce the habit and do quick brushes on the go, and the electric can do a good job clearing plaque before bed and first thing in the morning.
The basic standard for when to start is this: If your child is comfortable with it (and maybe excited!), then it’s a good time to try it out.. This will also be easier on you as a parent. But it can go south quickly with one bad experience. Don’t be afraid to go slowly!