mother and daughter brushing teeth together

How To Brush Your Teeth for Kids: 8 Steps

Source: Oksana Kuzmina/

Toothbrushing isn’t on most kids’ lists of favorite activities, but it’s an essential daily task. As a parent, you need to know the best tips for making the process as easy and effective as possible. When you’re a pro at understanding how to brush your teeth, you can pass that confidence on to your children. As they grow, they’ll learn from you how to keep their breath fresh and their smiles sparkling clean.

Step 1: Brush Your Children’s Teeth

Teaching your kids independence is important, but toothbrushing is one area where you need to stay in control. Young children don’t have the motor skills and dexterity to handle thorough toothbrushing on their own. While they can take turns maneuvering the brush, you should be responsible for most of the job until your kids are about 8 years old. Even tweens who do the brushing themselves may still need to be supervised during the process to make sure that they’re doing a thorough job.

Step 2: Select a Kids’ Toothpaste

Your children’s toothpaste works as a stain eraser to keep their teeth looking fresh and clean. Kids often enjoy sweet or fruity flavors for their pastes rather than spicy cinnamon or mint. Choosing a toothpaste that tastes good may help your kids get more into the brushing routine. In addition to getting a child-friendly flavor, it’s also important to pick a paste that includes fluoride, especially for kids over 3, since fluoride strengthens and protects children’s teeth. 

Step 3: Maneuver the Brush

When brushing kids’ teeth, angle the bristles toward the gums and use small motions. Go back and forth, passing over just one tooth at a time. Make sure to get the fronts, the backs and the tops of all the teeth. Turn the brush straight up and down when you do the front few teeth. Alternatively, you can opt for a sonic toothbrush for kids that cleans all the teeth at once. With its hands-free design, you won’t have to worry whether you’re keeping the brush at the right angle or using the correct strokes. 

Check Out Our Hands-Free Toothbrush

Step 4: Remember the Tongue

As you’re brushing the teeth, don’t forget to brush the tongue, too. Not only will brushing the tongue help combat mouth bacteria, but it will also freshen your little one’s breath. Plus, brushing the tongue helps promote overall good oral health. Bacteria that linger on children’s tongues may eventually transfer to their teeth and lead to decay. If you knock out tongue bacteria, you can keep your childs’ mouths cleaner.

childrens toothbrush

Step 5: Take Spit Breaks

When brushing your kids’ teeth, be sure to let them spit now and then. They’ll be more comfortable and less resistant to the process if you allow them to spit as they go. At the end of brushing, have your kids spit a final time.

Step 6: Brush for Two Minutes

American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes. You can set a timer so that you make sure that you’re brushing long enough. During the two minutes, make sure to spend equal times on all parts of the mouth. You can also use a hands-free toothbrush that cleans for exactly two minutes.

Track the Minutes With Our Sonic Toothbrush for Kids

Step 7: Follow Up With Floss

If your child’s teeth are close enough to touch, then they’re close enough to need floss. Tear off a length of floss, wrap it around two of your fingers, and slide it between the teeth and under the gums.

blue light toothbrush

Step 8: Go the Extra Mile

For an even more sparkling smile, consider using whitening treatments for your children. Be sure to check with your pediatric dentist to learn what age is appropriate for starting teeth whitening. A product like the Glow on the Go blue light device is a great choice for kids ages 12 and above.

Best Toothbrushing Practices for Kids

Consistency is key when it comes to teaching your kids good oral habits. Every day, take the time to brush your children’s teeth for two minutes. Repeat the routine twice each day. Use kid-friendly toothpaste and short strokes. Or, for the best approach on how to brush your teeth for kids, use a hands-free children’s toothbrush from GO SMILE. With an automatic toothbrush, you can trust that your children’s teeth are receiving the care and attention they need each day.