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Brushing & Flossing


  • Children should brush their teeth 2 times a day for about 2 minutes each time with a toothpaste that contains fluoride.

  • Parents should help their child brush until their child is at least 7-8 years old. 

How to Brush

  • Place the toothbrush against the gum line at a 45-degree angle. 

  • Use a small circular motion to brush the teeth. 

  • Brush back and forth on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, holding the brush flat. 

  • Do not forget the back of the teeth. 

  • Brush the tongue. 

  • Never share toothbrushes; it spreads germs.

  • The amount of fluoride toothpaste that should be used in brushing children’s teeth varies at different times in a child’s development. 

  • Under age 3, use a smear, about the size of a grain of rice.

  • Age 3 - 6, use a pea-size amount.

  • Spit, do not rinse, after brushing.

  • When brushing, be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth and the tongue.

  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months and especially after illness (particularly strep throat). For more information on brushing, see the Keeping Your Smile Healthy brochure.  


  • Floss daily to clean between the teeth that touch.

  • Parents should floss their child’s teeth until they are at least 7-8 years old.