Brush, Book, Bed, a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has a simple and clear message for parents:
- Each night, help your children to brush their teeth.
- Read a favorite book (or two)!
- Get to bed at a regular time each night.
Having a predictable nighttime routine will help them understand and learn to expect what comes next. Additionally, routines may ease the stress that some families experience at nighttime.
The resources below will help you get started with your child’s Brush, Book, Bed routine!
All young children need help with brushing from an adult to make sure a good job is done. When possible, teach children to spit out extra toothpaste, but don’t rinse with water first. The little bit of toothpaste left behind is good for their teeth! Once teeth touch, they can also be flossed. Visit your dentist regularly starting with your child’s first birthday or sooner if there are concerns. Your pediatrician can answer questions about oral health, too. Remember, the last thing to touch the teeth before bed is the toothbrush!
- As soon as baby is born, you can start good oral health practices. If possible, use a soft washcloth to wipe your baby’s gums after feedings. Remember not to put babies to bed with a bottle filled with milk. And, when it is time to introduce solids, choose healthy foods to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
- For children under age 3: As soon as you see a tooth in your baby’s mouth you can start to BRUSH! Use a smear (grain of rice) of toothpaste with fluoride 2 times per day.
- For children ages 3–6: Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. It is OK to let them practice with the brush, but you get your turn too.
For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page