When can I stop supervising my child’s teeth brushing?

Posted by Southeast Family Dental Aug 27,2020

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When you ask your children to go brush their teeth, does your bathroom end up looking like a Federal disaster zone? If so, you can probably relate to work-from-home mom Meredith Masony’s funny YouTube video see below, in which she filmed the aftermath of asking her children to go brush their teeth. (We’re with Masony on this one; it doesn’t appear that any actual teeth brushing occurred at that time.) 

If you can not see the embedded video above please use the following link: Brush Your Teeth

However, Masony’s video does bring up a good question that many parents may have at some point: At what age can you stop supervising your child’s teeth brushing activities?

The dentists at Southeast Family Dental feel that up to 7 years of age, most kids don’t have the manual dexterity and hand-to-eye coordination needed to properly brush their teeth on their own. In fact, two researchers have shown that 5 year-olds only brush about 25% of the surfaces of the teeth. Therefore, parents need to continue brushing their children’s teeth to ensure that plaque is sufficiently removed.

During these younger years, parents should teach their children how to properly brush their teeth twice a day. However, if you have a child under 7 years old, who wants to brush their teeth on their own, you can go ahead and let your child practice brushing their teeth. But once they’re done, it’s a good idea for you to brush your child’s teeth again to ensure all tooth surfaces have been reached.

Can’t cut their meat, help brush their teeth

Generally speaking, once a child can use a knife and fork to cut their meat, they should be able to use a toothbrush on their own without help and supervision. However, every child is different, so you need to determine if your child is able to brush by themselves. But if your bathroom looks like the one in the video—with globs of toothpaste in the sink and on the counter, splatters on the mirror, or clumps of toothpaste still on your child’s toothbrush, that’s probably a good indicator that your child isn’t quite ready for tooth brushing on their own.

Don’t forget to bring your child in twice a year to Southeast Family Dental for a checkup and professional teeth cleaning. Our dentists will make sure your child’s teeth are healthy without tooth decay. Call us today to make your child’s appointment.

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