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When Should My Kids Start Brushing Their Own Teeth?

All parents want the best dental health for their kids. But sometimes it’s hard to know when to make the transition from brushing your child’s teeth to having them brush their own teeth. Never fear! We’ll tell you the best time to pass the reins to your kids. Here are some tips that will help you know when your child is ready to brush their teeth solo.

1. Dentist Gives the OK

Talk to your child’s dentist. Their dentist will best understand your child’s oral health and dental needs, and they will be able to ascertain whether or not your kid is ready to start brushing on their own.

2. Your Child is 6-9 Years Old

When your child is six to nine years old, they are in the sweet spot for starting to brush their teeth solo. Of course it differs child to child, but this is a good ballpark.

3. Homework

A good rule of thumb is paying attention to when your child gets homework sent home to complete for the first time. When they are writing in school and expected to hold a pencil for long periods of time, they are ready to brush their own teeth without help.

4. Tying Their Shoes

Your child’s shoe-tying abilities are closely linked with the same fine motor skills that they’ll use while brushing their teeth. If they excel at tying their shoes solo, they are probably ready to brush their teeth without your help.

5. Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility is such a big part of brushing your teeth. When you notice your child demonstrating personal responsibility, it will help you know they are up to the task of brushing their teeth alone.

6. The Tablet Test

Many parents use the tablet test to determine whether or not their kids are ready to brush their own teeth. Before your child brushes their teeth, give them a colored chewable tablet (available in most pharmacies) that sticks to plaque, and see how much of the color they can remove from their teeth. You need to see them do it successfully many times before they can do it on their own.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to remember that when it comes to dental hygiene, your job as a parent is never done. Keep an eye on your child’s brushing, even as they start doing it on their own. While it’s fine to let younger kids practice on their own, make sure to check their progress to see that they are learning good dental care habits. And don’t forget to help them with flossing: one idea is to use fun animal flossers so your kid will stand still for it!

If you have questions about your child’s dental health, contact Stratman Family Dentistry today to speak to our friendly team!