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Tooth Brushing Technique for Six-Year-Olds

Updated on May 22, 2014


The smile may not be perfect, but are the teeth clean (enough) ?
The smile may not be perfect, but are the teeth clean (enough) ? | Source

Need a Reminder? Need a Prop?

My 6-year-old niece gave me a refresher course in teeth brushing. It is brilliant. It also requires an inexpensive piece of equipment (a prop, in theatre lingo.) It is an egg timer.

120 Seconds of Brushing

One hundred twenty seconds is the key. Two minutes. (I can't write this without thinking of the song from Rent: Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes.)

My niece has a petite sand-filled egg timer. She flips it and that is how long she brushes.

Before you think all sorts of awful things about my family's mouths and mine in particular, I own seven toothbrushes. I brush about five times a day, rotating the brushes so that each can dry out and i will always have a stiff, firm brush. However, compared to my niece, we are rotters.

When I brush all areas of the teeth plus my tongue, the entire operation lasts... maybe 25 seconds? The difference between 25 and 120 is HUGE!

Slippery smooth or fuzzy scuzzy?

Once I heard a dental hygienist for public elementary schools talk about her job. She shared some of her teaching patter: She asks everyone (you can play along here) to gently keep their lips closed and "brush" their teeth with their tongue. Without asking for public sharing of the results, she continues, "If your teeth feel slippery, they are clean. If they aren't slippery or if they feel fuzzy, they are not clean enough."

Well, I also will decline public sharing. However, I will admit that the slipperiness factor for me improved when I spent two whole minutes brushing.


Dare to Try It

I challenge families to purchase the egg timer, conduct a teeth brushing boot camp, and report back. It's a win-win.

Photo and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan.


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