Q – My 3 year old wants to brush ‘by himself’.  How can I tell if he’s doing a good job?

A – Your 3 year old is not able to do a good job brushing his teeth.  Children do not have the dexterity required for adequate brushing until 7 or 8 years of age.  As a compromise let your son brush his own teeth after every meal and have mom or dad brush in the morning and at night before bed. At this age, flossing should also be done by a parent once a day.

Jennifer Kelly is a dentist practicing in Vancouver.

See also our article on starting to brush a baby’s teeth.