Summertime Brushin’

Summertime Teeth Brushing TipsSummer is almost here! For kids, this means it’s time for sweet lemonade, slushies, and smoothies. For parents, this means really making sure your child is practicing good oral hygiene practices at home to prevent tooth decay. Many people think that cavities in baby teeth don’t matter because they will fall out anyway. However, dental decay in baby teeth can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental problems. Research shows that the health of your mouth affects the health of the rest of your body. And oral hygiene needs to start early. No teeth? Simply going through the motions of cleaning the gums with a soft washcloth serves a useful purpose. And as soon as that first tooth erupts, you can start to brush!

If your kiddo is resistant to brushing those pearly whites here are some ways to make this routine fun:

  1. Let your child choose the toothbrush that pulls at his or her heartstrings. It may be their favorite color, have their favorite cartoon character, or it might even be an electric toothbrush. Toothbrushes with a thick handle can be easier for children to hold.
  2. Let your child also choose his or her own flavored fluoride toothpaste. For children under the age of 3, use a small smear of fluoride toothpaste two times per day. For children ages 3-6, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Your child’s teeth should be brushed twice each day. Once after breakfast and once before bed.
  3. The best way to teach children to brush their teeth is to lead by example. Allow your child to watch you brush your teeth. Come up with creative ways to keep your child engaged in the act of brushing their teeth. It may be helpful to play a game of brushing “smiling teeth” and “hidden teeth.” Whether that be singing a song or a game of copycat, your child should brush their teeth for the recommended 2 minutes. There are even toothbrushes with a 2-minute timer to help children (and parents!) figure this out. Most children do not have the dexterity to brush their teeth on their own until the age of 7 or 8. Be sure to supervise your child when they are brushing their teeth and do the actual brushing if necessary.

With proper coaching, your child will adopt good oral hygiene as a part of his or her daily routine and can keep those pearly whites healthy for a lifetime.

More Resources

Taking Care of Your Teeth (For Kids)

Taking Care of Your Teeth (For Teens)

Promoting Oral Health

Toothbrushing Tips for Young Children
What song do you sing when teaching your children to brush their teeth?


  • twinkle twinkle little star

  • I have sang Old MacDonald, the Farmer in the Dell, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star together sometimes, just to get to the 2 minutes.

  • No songs yet…he loves it and we don’t need to!

  • Old MacDonald Had a Farm!

  • We sing the alphabet song – sometimes more than once!

  • We sing “brush, brush, brush your teeth” to the beat of “row, row, row your boat”. My kids love picking out their own toothbrush! We also have an “Angry Birds” mouthwash that my kids love to use in addition to prevent cavities. It tastes like bublegum and they do this before they brush their teeth

  • We make up songs about killing the germs, the germs all have different voices as the toothpaste does it’s job. Then we wave good-bye after spitting out the bodies. I have a son and he has an incredible imagination, have to keep it interesting. We use to just sing the alphabet song but as he got older, he needed something fun/funny.

  • We just have it as part of the daily routine! No songs needed.

  • Thanks for sharing this article, Mariam! I’m trying to get my kid to brush his teeth more, so I’m grateful for all of the suggestions that you’ve listed. I mainly liked your suggestion on letting my kid choose his own toothbrush. I hadn’t ever though of that, and I’m sure he would brush his teeth more if Batman was on it!