Although a six-year-old child may feel independent enough to brush and floss their own teeth, it is important for the parent to monitor their child until they are at least eight years old.

It is common for a child to miss surfaces while brushing because they lack the coordination to reach all areas in the mouth. Be sure to brush through a second time, reaching areas that they may have missed such as their molars.

Help older children by being creative and supportive. Try rewarding good brushing habits.

Daily Dental Care

Cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood in the United States (CDC) . Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. The good news is cavities are preventable by following a good dental care routine. A daily dental care routine includes:

  • Brushing your teeth morning and night for two minutes
  • Flossing at least once per day, and
  • Using a mouth rinse that contains fluoride as recommended by your dental provider. Your provider can share additional information and specific products to use.


Flossing daily helps prevent dental plaque from building. Flossing also helps remove food particles between teeth, where a toothbrush can’t reach. Your child’s dental provider can show you and your child how to floss.

Signs of Cavities

In between your child’s routine visits to a dental provider, it is useful to perform regular visual inspections of your child’s teeth:

  • White and brown spots on your child’s teeth are early signs of cavities.
  • Black spots, and holes in your child’s tooth are signs of moderate to severe tooth decay.

Other signs to look out for that may imply your child is suffering from dental decay:

  • Trouble focusing in class
  • Avoids eating hard foods
  • Complains about pain around their face, but cannot identify where
  • Struggles staying asleep through the night

When signs of moderate to severe tooth decay are visible, it is wise to schedule a visit with your dental provider, to prevent the infection from spreading.

Signs of Teeth Grinding

Children often grind their teeth. However, because their teeth and jaws are growing so quickly, this habit does not always cause serious damage. Many children outgrow it by adolescence. Watch for signs of teeth grinding. If your child complains of:

  • Sore cheek muscles
  • Sore jaw
  • Sensitive teeth

…and you notice the length of their teeth shortening, they may be grinding their teeth. Let your dental provider know of these signs so that they can provide your child with a preventive appliance to protect the natural shape of their teeth.