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Pediatric Dentistry Preventive Dentistry

Is there a really good way to brush the teeth of very young children?

With the reported rise in incidence of early childhood caries in North America in recent times, dental professional organizations are re-doubling efforts to encourage parents to bring children for a dental visit by the first birthday. For many children, caries is a largely preventable disease, and I have always found it really sad to see a mouthful of cavities in the mouths of young children, especially when simple measures can have a profound impact on preventing the disease in young children.

A colleague that I respect very much pointed me to a neat resource the other day that demonstrates how to brush the teeth of very young children. This YouTube video, titled Toothbrushing for children three and under – the knee-to-knee technique was created by Vancouver Coastal Health, the public health agency for Vancouver. Please watch this short video that lasts for 5 minutes and 30 seconds. If you like it, please consider recommending it to the members of your dental team and others.

The web link for the Vancouver Dental Program is www.vch.ca/dentalhealth, and you can find the video on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUNmohl4CD8&sns=em. I for one really appreciate the great work of the people at the Vancouver Public Dental Program for creating this valuable resource and for sharing it with the world.

If you know of other top quality online resources that you believe are worth bringing to the attention of the people who follow this site, please don’t hesitate to bring these resources to my attention by emailing me at jokeefe@cda-adc.ca. Thank you for engaging in this and other important discussions that advance oral health.


Do you have other great resources on this topic and other topics that you think are worth sharing? Email Dr. John O’keefe at jokeefe@cda-adc.ca

What further information would you like on this topic? Email us at jcdaoasis@cda-adc.ca

Readers are invited to comment on this initial response and provide further insights by posting in the comment box which you will find by clicking on “Post a reply“ below. You are welcome to remain anonymous and your email address will not be posted .



  1. Ian McConnachie March 20, 2013

    I had the recent pleasure of meeting the creator of this video, Dr. Pam Glassby, and seeing the video. It is a wonderful creation with lots of great tips for parents and caregivers. I now have a link to it on my website and also encourage all to check out the video for themselves

  2. David Rose March 20, 2013

    While I appreciate the intent of this video, I question whether most young parents with children have the time and energy to devote to this exercise. It shouldn’t take two people and two chairs to get the job done. I learned a much simpler technique some time ago – not sure where (HSC in Toronto maybe, or a Marvin Berman lecture somewhere?):

    Parent standing with child standing in front of him facing away, between the parents knees. Left hand under chin, lift chin, mouth automatically opens, brush teeth with right hand. The child can’t move his head because the parent’s left hand is in control. Never had it fail when demonstrating it to a parent.


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