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Brushing and Flossing for Toddlers

August 11, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

toddler smiling with white teeth



Brushing and flossing are important for ensuring your toddler's teeth and gums are healthy. Here's what you need to know.


diagram - brushing toddler's teeth

Tooth decay can start as soon as a tooth appears in your toddler's mouth. To help prevent decay:

  • Gently brush your toddler's teeth twice a day with a child's toothbrush - in the morning and after the last evening feeding.
  • Use a rice-grain sized portion of fluoride toothpaste. As more teeth appear, gradually increase the amount of toothpaste up to a pea sized amount by the age of 36 months.
  • Keep toothpaste out of your toddler's reach. Children should not swallow large amounts of toothpaste with fluoride.


diagram - flossing toddler's teeth

Once your toddler's teeth touch other, floss once a day. It's best if an adult does the flossing. Your toddler could damage the gums.

Did you know? The bacteria from your mouth may increase the chance of tooth decay in your toddler. To avoid sharing your germs:

  • If your toddler uses a soother, avoid putting it in your mouth. 
  • Use separate toothbrushes.
  • Use one spoon to test food and another to feed your toddler.

Learn more about Preventing Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Resources & Links: 

BC Dental Association: Your Child's Baby Teeth
Vancouver Coastal Health video: Toothbrushing for Children under 3 – Knee to Knee
Your Dental Health: Baby Teeth


  1. Activity & Lifestyles
  2. Aging Well
  3. Pregnancy & Parenting
    1. Pregnancy & Birth
    2. Babies (0-12 months)
    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
    4. Preschool (3-5 years)
    5. Children (6-11 years)
    6. Teens (12-18 years)
  4. Food & Nutrition

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