Asheville Pediatric Dentistry

Practical brushing tips from a pediatric dentist

As a parent and pediatric dentist, I get to practice what I preach!Once your child’s teeth first erupt, usually between 6 - 12 months of age, they need to be brushed at least twice a day and flossed at least once a day. The best times are after breakfast and before bed. This routine for some children is no big deal and, yet, for others can be challenging. So, here are some tried and true brushing tips from my (dental) home to yours.

Infant or wiggly toddler – Parents of young children and infants often tell me they have to wrestle their kids to brush their teeth or they have to sit on them to get the job done. Here’s an alternative that’s faster and more effective, called “knee to knee.” First, make sure you have all your brushing items within reach: toothbrush with two bristles worth of toothpaste on it, flosser, & cloth to wipe up afterwards. Sit facing another person with your knees touching. One person sits with the child facing them, with the child’s legs around their waist and holds their hands at the child’s stomach. The adult that will brush the child’s teeth lays the child back with the child’s head in their lap. If your child won’t open, you can gently slide the pointer finger from your non-dominant hand between their cheek and teeth until it rests on the gums behind their last tooth. Your other hand is free to brush and floss! Alternatively, if you’re alone you can cradle your child in your arm, leaving your dominant hand free to brush, and use your finger as previously mentioned if needed. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’re finished and how much better you can see what you’re doing.

Infant night feedings – If your child needs to feed during the middle of the night and you aren’t able to brush, try wiping their teeth off with a warm wet bath cloth after nursing or bottle feeding. By using something warm, you’re less likely to wake them up.

Preschool age children – My daughter is 4 and loves choices! Giving one to two choices during brushing sessions at this age is a great way to help them feel in control of part of the process. Try having different flavors of toothpaste on hand or different toothbrushes to offer. Why not ask where they would prefer to brush? Lying down is often easier for them to stay still and for you to see where you need to brush. Think outside the bathroom! The couch or floor work well, just have all your brushing items ready. If your child wants to brush their own teeth, let them have a turn, but try going first, as sometimes they are tired after the 2 minutes it takes to do a good job. A great way to capture those two minutes is with a song. Use your own voice or the help of your favorite artist to pass the time. Please remember to keep helping your child brush until they are at least 8 years old.

I hope these tips will help in your home, as they do in mine!

Dr. Jackson


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Asheville Pediatric Dentistry

Jenny Jackson, DMD, MPH
Martha Hardaway, DMD, MS
76 Peachtree Rd, Suite 100
Asheville, NC 28803
Phone: (828) 277-6788
Fax: (828) 277-6798

Why see a pediatric dentist?

To be a “PEDIATRIC DENTIST”, the dentist must have completed 6 to 7 years of training, which includes 4 years of dental school plus an additional 2 to 3 years of rigorous residency training in the specialty of pediatric dentistry. PEDIATRIC DENTISTS learn special techniques to address the unique needs of children, including dental trauma and infections, and have extensive formal training in how to keep children as comfortable as possible during any treatment.


Why see our Doctors?

Our doctors have specialized training and are recognized as Board Certified Pediatric Dentists. Both Dr. Jackson and Dr. Hardaway excelled academically during their dental studies, with Dr. Jackson graduating second in her class from Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Hardaway is commended as a leader in the dental community, serving as the President of the Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry.


What do patients think?

Thanks to all who helped Amira with her first visit to the dentist this morning! The entire experience was a pleasure, from the people to the atmosphere to the decor. I look forward to bringing in Victoria for her first visit one day! - Christine Hartman"