Dentist Questions Oral Hygiene

What is the right age for kids to brush their teeth on their own?

I always help my daughter with brushing her teeth but now I think it's time that she does it on her own. She is 3 years old, and I don't want her to depend on me for this. Is this the right age?

27 Answers

It very much depends on each child, and how quickly they develop the right skill set for brushing. In my practice, I see children develop that closer to age 5-6. I would be cautious about expecting a 3 year old to properly brush on her own. Good luck.
Dr. Cyril Tahtadjian
Usually, I suggest the parent helps the child and/or checks behind the child regularly until about 10yo. That is the general time that children learn to write in cursive (do they still do that in school these days with so many computers?). By 10, they usually have more focus and a longer attention span. The better manual dexterity (control over the wrist and hand motions) and more attentiveness at that age gives me confidence that they can be independent brushers.
Kids don't have the dexterity to properly clean their own teeth until they are around 7 years old. Then they should be monitored by you the parent to make sure they are brushing all the teeth and all the teeth surfaces. You should also be flossing your kids teeth
Children mature at different rates. Let them try on their own but watch to be sure they are cleaning all teeth, front and back.
Every child is different, however, 3 seems a little young to fly solo. The time you put in now to ensure she gets her teeth clean daily is going to save you thousands in dental bills down the road. Let her brush and you go in after and make sure she did a great job. I do it with my own kids, it takes 30 seconds to check them.
I always say that until your child is old enough to tie their shoe laces on their own, they will not have the dexterity to brush properly. I would let your child brush first and then you have a go at it after to make sure nothing was left behind.
Kids can overbrush, underbrush, forget to brush, brush hard on the gums and damage them, use too much toothpaste and swallow it- all can be bad. Teach them to do it on their own but always WATCH them. After they turn 5 they are mature enough to be in charge.
Varies according to the child. Some can do it at three while some will ALWAYS need adult supervision due to noncompliance.
See one of the previous questions and my answer. But even though she can brush on her own, you must take charge and check her every time and correct any problems.
The recommended age to stop helping with brushing is...10-12years old. And I will explain why. Kids like more to eat the brushing paste than to brush. You can at all times check how much the child had put on the toothbrush- it must not be a lot more than the nail of the little finger. Second of all, the permanent teeth are going to come at 5-6 years old, also front but also back. A lot of parents are not aware that also new teeth are coming as last teeth, do not brush properly and the kids are loosing the permanent teeth because of not brushing properly -cavities. The new teeth are coming until 12. Some parents are continuing brushing until they are 14, just to make sure. We recommend that you first brush the teeth, than let the child do it. That way they are not going to loose patience when it will be your turn.
6 years old.
If you think she is ready then let her start doing them on her own and maybe you do them once a week or at least look really good after to make sure she is getting all of them
Yes, the perfect age,
At 3 she may bring ah her teeth in her own, however, I always recommend you monitor and aid the patient as needed until the ages of 6-7. Especially when it comes to flossing. It is important that appropriate oral hygiene techniques are established and ingrained prior to allowing the child to be completely on there own.
The age your daughter can hold the toothbrush on her own. Also, she must be able to understand and follow instructions for proper brushing.
A child does not have the manual skill to brush correctly until the child can tie shoelaces. The child of three can hold a brush, but will not be able to master brushing yet.
3 is too young to let your child brush by themselves. they will miss areas and become very high risk for developing cavities
When he's coordinated enough to tie his own shoes, usually around age 5-6
Kids tend to rush through their brushing routine and do not brush for the full 2 minutes, or they miss spots. Parents can let kids brush their own teeth but they should go over them until the child is at least 8-10 years old.
You still have to help. You can get her to brush and you go over them again and also flossing is hard for that age.
Some kids exercise good dexterity when using a toothbrush all you need to do is watch. It's a leap of faith to leave them alone in the bathroom to brush their teeth but they need to start this habit as early as possible with supervision.
To insure adequate brushing time (minimum 2 minutes, 2X/day) and brushing technique and to prevent cavities; regardless of children insisting to be independent, parents should continue to supervise their children's brushing until the age 10 to 12.
You should help your child until have the coordination and self discipline to do it effectively. One good indicator of coordination is being able to tie their shoes...around 6. Even then...if they do not brush should assist and check to make sure things are staying clean. This counts for flossing as well.
Depending on the maturity and manual dexterity of the child, I usually suggest 2-3 years of age. Allow her to do this and then be able to check the completeness of the brushing. Disclosing tablets are a good teaching idea, however, they are very messy and their use needs to be supervised. 2 1/2 is my goal!!!!
This is going to be on a case by case basis. Most kids have the co-ordination by age 5. Girls develop faster than boys, so it is highly possible she is able to brush her teeth on her own. If you think she can do it without you, let her try. Disclosing tooth paste or tablets will let you see if she is doing a good job.
A technique you might try is to stand behind your child as they brush and assist until you are comfortable with her ability, then check from time to time to reinforce correctness.
Most kids under the age of 8 or 9 don't have the manual dexterity to brush by themselves. I would recommend that you monitor the brushing and see exactly what they have accomplished.