Brush Up on
Simple Steps for Kids’ Smiles
1. Start cleaning teeth early.
As soon as the first tooth appears, begin cleaning by wiping with a clean, damp
cloth every day. When more teeth come in, switch to a small, soft toothbrush.
Begin using toothpaste with fluoride when the child is 2 years old. Use toothpaste
with fluoride earlier if your child’s doctor or dentist recommends it.
2. Use the right amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoride is important for fighting cavities. But if children younger than 6 years old
swallow too much fluoride, their permanent teeth may have white spots. To keep this
from happening, use only a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a pea). Teach
your child to spit out the toothpaste and to rinse well after brushing.
3. Supervise brushing.
Brush your child’s teeth twice a day until your child has the skill to handle the toothbrush alone. Then
continue to closely watch brushing to make sure the child is doing a thorough job and using only a
small amount of toothpaste.
4. Talk to your child’s doctor or dentist.
Check with the doctor or dentist about your child’s specific fluoride needs. After age 2, most
children get the right amount of fluoride to help prevent cavities if they drink water that contains
fluoride and brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
Parents of children older than 6 months should ask about the need for a fluoride supplement if
drinking water does not have enough fluoride.
Do not let a child younger than 6 years old use a fluoride mouth rinse unless the child’s doctor or
dentist recommends it.
Early care for your children’s teeth will
protect their smile and their health.