Tooth care is important in kids. We know this, right? But how hard is it to keep on top of their twice-daily teeth care routine and how many parents know properly how to clean kids’ teeth?

According to research by Jack N’ Jill Kids, more than one-third of parents think their kids are lying to them about brushing and we completely get this. I can’t count how many times I’ve asked my kids, “Have you brushed your teeth?” and heard them yell out “Yes”, most likely without even hearing what I’ve even asked them.

Further to this, over half of the parents said they aren’t too sure if their kids are brushing their teeth twice a day. Sure, they are meant to be, but are they??

So, if you are feeling a little slack in the kids’ teeth brushing department, you’re in good company. That’s why we put together our real mum’s guide to teeth care – how to clean kids’ teeth, tips and tricks on making it easier, and a brand new product that is about to make teeth cleaning SOOO much easier.

how to clean kids' teeth
Are your kids really brushing twice a day? Source: Adobe Stock

Teeth care in kids 101

First things first, how to clean kids’ teeth: 

We’re meant to be helping our tiny terrors with their teeth brushing until the age of seven. Then they can take the reins. However, I know a lot of dentists that recommend letting the kids do it by themselves in the morning (with you watching on) and then taking control at night.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Apply toothpaste to the toothbrush. A rice smear for children 0-3 and a pea-sized for children ages three and up.
  • Angle the toothbrush at 45 degrees, facing towards the gums of the upper and lower teeth.
  • Move the brush gently back and forth with short, tooth-size strokes. Use this technique for the interior, exterior, and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • When brushing the front teeth, hold the toothbrush in a vertical position. Clean both the front and back of these pearly whites.
  • Finally, brush the tongue to remove bacteria from the surface.
how much toothpaste to put on toothbrush
Just a pea-sized dob of toothpaste is all you need. Source: Adobe Stock

How long for? 

For two minutes, which may feel like the longest two minutes of your existence. Setting a timer or putting on a song may help make it go a little quicker.

It will start to get easier the more you do it and when it becomes part of the routine.

What about flossing? 

Yep. That’s part of the teeth cleaning process too. Of course, trying to convince a two-year-old that they need to floss isn’t an easy feat. Experts suggest aiming to floss your child’s teeth daily. Jack N’ Jill Kids have a product called Fairy Floss that is really good for introducing flossing to kids.

how to floss kids' teeth
Teaching your child how to floss their teeth is important too. Source: Adobe Stock

When do you start teeth brushing?

As soon as your little one sprouts their very first tooth! Check out our cheeky tooth chart below to see when that will be and how many teeth you can expect to clean as they get older.

teething chart
Source: Supplied

When your child is teething, they may have sore gums and be a bit fussy about having their teeth brushed. Totally normal! Just do your best. Baby Gum and Tooth Wipes are great for these times as they don’t require that brushing sensation.

how to clean kids' teeth
Good tooth brushing habits need to start young. Source: Supplied

My kids HATE brushing their teeth. What can I do?? 

Don’t worry. Lots of kids hate the whole teeth brushing experience. It’s pretty common. There are a few things you can try to make the whole experience a little easier.

Tips for getting kids to love brushing their teeth

Experiment with different toothpaste and special toothbrushes – Children may be more inclined to brush their teeth if their toothbrush happens to have their favourite cartoon character on it. Electric toothbrushes may also work for some children.

Also,  check out the various flavours of natural kids’ toothpaste out there. There may be one flavour that your child actually likes!

Teeth brushing charts are also fun for kids as they look forward to a reward after a week of successful teeth brushing. You can find free printable teeth brushing charts online.

How to clean kids' teeth - teeth brushing chart
Source: Preschool Play and Learn

Timers and songs. As we said above, getting a cheeky timer to keep in the bathroom is another easy way to get them excited about brushing their teeth. A tooth brushing song can also ensure they brush for two minutes and are entertained throughout.

Teamwork makes the dream work, including when brushing teeth. Make it a team effort where you brush their teeth and they get to brush your teeth. You can also get some of their animal friends and dolls involved. Clean teeth for everyone!

how to clean kids' teeth
Source: Supplied

What happens if my child knocks out or chips a tooth?

This happens more often than you may think. You will need to see a dentist to determine the damage but in the meantime, this is what to do:

  • Handle the tooth by the crown (smooth white part, not pointy part).
  • If dirty, rinse with milk or saline for a few seconds (Don’t use water!).
  • Don’t let the tooth dry out. Keep the tooth in saliva, milk or saline.
  • If the tooth that has come out is a baby tooth do not attempt to put it back into the gum.

Is tooth care really that important? 

I mean, they just lose their baby teeth eventually anyway. Does it really matter?

Yes, dental care, from that first tooth on and on, is important. Oral health, like physical health, mental health, and nutritional health, is all part of the whole health package. And, as parents, this all comes down to us.

how to clean kids' teeth
Great tooth care is critical, teach them right from the start. Source: Supplied

Speaking of nutritional health, there are a few snacks that also aren’t super great for teeth – anything super sugar (obviously), but orange juice and other highly acidic foods and drinks can also temporarily soften the enamel.

You don’t have to eliminate juice from your fridge completely, but just try and wait 60 minutes after your kiddies have a drink before brushing.

Another thing most parents aren’t aware of is the link between a Vitamin D deficiency and teeth. Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency can affect both tooth enamel and gum health. In children, low vitamin D levels can negatively impact tooth development and cause weaker teeth in adulthood. Not good!

We’ve actually just uncovered a new product that is ideal for helping with vitamin D deficiency (plus general teeth care for kids). It’s called Tooth Sparkles by teeth care experts Jack N’ Jill Kids and they are packed full of Vitamin D to assist with teeth development and Hydroxyapatite to support teeth remineralisation.

Tooth Sparkles
Tooth Sparkles are a great way to get the right doses of Vitamin D into your little ones. Source: Jack N’ Jill Kids

Tooth Sparkles are chewable tablets designed to physically clean teeth in between brushing. How cool is that? It’s the first of its kind on the market and a great addition to your children’s daily teeth cleaning habits.

They taste yummy and are designed to be chewed/crushed and then swallowed on the go, like after lunch at daycare or school – or any time in between brushes. Tooth Sparkles aren’t meant to take the place of twice-daily teeth brushing, but they are designed to support teeth care.

Tooth Sparkles
The perfect way to protect little teeth. Source: Jack N’ Jill Kids

Jack N’ Jill Kids is one of our top picks for natural kids’ toothpaste and their Tooth Sparkles are sure to be a big hit for your kidlets! Like their toothpaste, Tooth Sparkles are packed with xylitol and are free from sugar, nuts, gluten and artificial sweeteners.

Give them a try and see what your children think of them. You can find them at Chemist Warehouse and Woolworths.

Tooth Sparkles
Tooth Sparkles – supporting the development of teeth and bones! Source: Jack N’ Jill Kids

Learning how to clean kids’ teeth isn’t always as simple and straightforward as it seems, especially if you’ve got a little one who is hesitant about it.

The most important thing is to be consistent and try to make it fun for them. We hope some of the products mentioned above will help you along the way.

Before you know it, those itty bitty baby teeth will start falling out and you’ll be moving from “Key Commander in Teeth Cleaning” to an even more important role – “The Tooth Fairy”! Good luck with that one!!

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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