Should Parents Help Kids Brush Their Teeth?

What parents need to know to make sure kids brush their teeth properly and why baby teeth are important. Sponsored by Dr. Kami Hoss.

mom and daughters at the bathroom sink;  "How to teach kids to brush their teeth properly" text overlay

Should parents help children brush their teeth?

When I talk to other parents, one of the things they can all agree on is that it can be hard to get kids to brush their teeth properly…or not at all!

Brushing your teeth has always been part of our family’s nighttime routine, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy!

Our 3 year old daughter is very independent and loves doing things on her own, but she definitely misses a few brushing spots and needs some help. Our 7 year old also started asking for help, but I wondered if I should or not. Is there an age when parents should stop helping with brushing?

Then I read If your mouth could speak by Dr. Kami Hoss. Dr. Hoss is a renowned orthodontist and dentofacial orthopedic surgeon who has spent 20 years researching how your oral health affects your entire body.

I’ve always been a fanatic about dental hygiene, but this book taught me things I didn’t know! It really opened my eyes to the importance of making sure kids brush their teeth properly, starting as early as possible.

Did you know…

  • 5-year-olds only brush 25% of their teeth
  • 11-year-olds only brush 50% of their teeth

Without guidance, your children won’t get their teeth as clean as possible, which could lead to preventable dental problems.

But those are just baby teeth…right?

Because baby teeth eventually fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth, it is mistakenly believed that they are not as important.

However, baby teeth are crucial for a child’s development and quality of life.

smiling little girl missing two front teeth

Even if baby teeth eventually fall out and are replaced, it is still important to take care of them.

Healthy milk teeth are necessary for:

  • Keep space for permanent teeth to grow
  • Help babies and toddlers eat their first solid foods
  • Learn to speak correctly and form words
  • Guides jaw and facial growth
  • Give confidence

flat lay of "If Your Mouth Could Talk" book and toothbrush

How to help children learn to brush their teeth

After reading Dr. Hoss’ book, I was reassured to learn that it is important to help children brush their teeth correctly and effectively. Not only is this model for kids the right way to brush their teeth, it makes sure their teeth actually get clean.

Start by brushing completely for them, to show children the right way to brush their teeth. Over time, you can switch to having them do most of the brushing, while you supervise. Eventually, they will learn to brush their teeth independently. Dr. Hoss emphasizes patience, as children can take years to master their brushing technique.

5 ways to help your kids brush their teeth better:

  • Have fun – Studies show that children brush their teeth up to 73% longer with music playing. A musical toothbrush or even singing a “brush your teeth” song are great ways to get kids to brush their teeth.
  • Change it — A child’s toothbrush should be replaced at least every 3 months. (The same goes for your toothbrush!) Both manual and electric toothbrushes are fine; choose the type your child likes best and is most likely to use correctly.
  • Daily silk — Disposable floss sticks are often easier for children to handle and clean between teeth.
  • Use the right toothpaste — A toothpaste containing hydroxyapatite and/or fluoride is recommended by Dr. Hoss.
  • Don’t forget the language — The tongue is a common source of bad breath because it accumulates germs. Make sure tongue brushing is part of your mouth cleaning routine. A tongue scraper is another safe and effective way to clean the surface of the tongue.

Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and don’t forget to visit your child’s pediatric dentist regularly!

Should children use mouthwash?

Effective mouthwash is an important part of a child’s oral health care routine and should be used daily. However, not all mouthwashes are created equal. Some may actually do more harm than good!

Children under the age of 6 should never use mouthwash containing fluoride, due to the risk of ingestion. Mouthwashes containing alcohol and/or antibiotics should also be avoided as they harm the good bacteria in the mouth.

Dr. Hoss recommends a pH-balancing mouthwash containing hydroxyapatite and prebiotics, as soon as your child is able to snort and spit.

flowers on the bathroom counter and a book titled "If Your Mouth Could Talk"

Want more advice?

Dr. Hoss’ book opened my eyes to the importance of caring for baby teeth. It also contains many tips for adults. I will definitely be buying new toothpastes and mouthwashes for the whole family!

One thing that really stuck with me is that good oral health can add 10-15 years to your life. WOW!!

Give your family the gift of a healthy mouth — Visit to pre-order your copy of If your mouth could talk!

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