Shedding Some White on the Tooth Brushing Blues  

Parents often ask me a mouthful of questions on how can they get their children to brush their teeth on a daily basis.  Let me try to shed light – or should I say shed some white – on the topic of toothbrushing.  

First, parents need to remember that children do not have the understanding about the long-term value of good tooth care.  Instead, they view toothbrushing as a boring thing you make them do.  In addition, kids under five do not have the coordination to clean every surface thoroughly. That said here are a few suggestions that might help:

The more your child wants to own the process of toothbrushing through fun activities like these, the easier the routine will become.

Also, remember that your child only needs a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and should try hard not to swallow it, but rather spit it out, so that fluoride does not build up in their bodies which can make their teeth develop white spots.

 Hopefully, tips like this will clean up – or should I say brush away – any concerns you have when it comes to making sure your child’s teeth stay healthy. 

Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids" weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at