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Is It OK For Kids To Brush Their Teeth Once Per Day?

Kids are active with a flurry of tasks each day. They’re seemingly on the go from the minute they wake up in the morning until the moment they pillow their head again each night. With all of the activity they have going on, often times they start cutting corners on certain parts of their health and wellness routine, like brushing their teeth.

Maybe you’ve had a child who’s tried to bargain with you in the past. “Mom,” they say, “why can’t I brush my teeth once per day?” For whatever reason, they’re trying to skimp on good oral care.

Our team at Children’s Dentistry in Las Vegas has heard the pleas of our young patients asking if they can brush their teeth only once per day. Here are some issues that you should consider if your child asks to reduce their tooth brushing time each day.

Reasons Kids Want To Brush Their Teeth Once Per Day

Before you brush off (pun intended!) your child’s request to only brush once a day, consider some of the reasons they may feel that brushing their teeth more often is too difficult:

  • “I’m too busy in the morning.” Mornings can go a couple of different ways for young people. On one hand, some kids are a blur of activity, busily finishing homework, eating breakfast, and gathering their things. For some other children, however, getting them up in time to get out the door is a chore in its own. What does each of these kids of kids have in common? They don’t make time to brush their teeth.
  • “I’m too busy at night.” After children get home from school, they often get caught up with friends, homework, and extracurricular activities. Because of this, they can forget that they need to brush their teeth before they go to bed.
  • “I don’t like brushing my teeth.” For some kids, especially younger children, brushing their teeth is a chore. For whatever reason, they don’t like the routine, so they avoid it as much as possible. This crowd doesn’t mind brushing their teeth once per day…or not at all!
  • “I forgot!” Children love to use this excuse for an endless variety of reasons. However, sometimes brushing teeth has honestly slipped their mind. They don’t mind brushing their teeth, they simply need prompting to make it part of their routine.

How Many Times Should Kids Brush Their Teeth A Day?


Although a child brushing teeth once per day is certainly better than them not brushing at all, it’s not sufficient to maintain good oral health. The American Dental Association recommends that all children (and adults) brush their teeth twice a day at two minute intervals. In fact, pediatric dentists often use the phrase “2 by 2” during preventative dental visits to remind children of the proper timing of brushing.

Brushing ideally should take place in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after dinner and snack time. Brushing in the morning ensures that your child doesn’t have “morning breath” and that their teeth have been properly cleaned from the morning meal. Brushing in the evening removes any sugar, acid, or excess food from the teeth and gums, aiding in good oral health throughout the night.

While you’re helping your child establish a good tooth brushing routine, make sure they are also flossing once each day as well. Additionally, replace their toothbrush every three or four months (or sooner if the brush bristles have significant signs of wear).

Helpful Hints To Ensure Children Brush Twice Daily

By this point, we’ve established that brushing teeth once a day is a poor choice for the health of your child. However, how are you supposed to reinforce the habit of brushing twice a day when your child is hesitant to follow along? Let’s reconsider some of the excuses children offer in reference to tooth brushing:

  • “I’m too busy in the morning.” Assist your child in creating a new morning routine that allows them to have proper time to brush teeth. In the end, all they need is about 2 extra minutes to make sure their teeth are brushed properly. If your child loves to hit the snooze button instead of getting ready for school, give them some incentive to wake up on time.
  • “I’m too busy at night.” Before your child goes to bed, make sure you ask them if they brushed their teeth. Over time, you shouldn’t need to remind them as much as they build a healthy habit. Remember: “You can expect what you inspect.” Checking on them now and again will ensure that they don’t go back to brushing teeth once a day.
  • “I don’t like brushing my teeth.” Allow your child to choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste. You may find that allowing them to take ownership of this small decision will make them more excited for tooth brushing time. Also, the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Smiles offer several two-minute YouTube videos that can help make brushing fun for your child.
  • “I forgot!” Help your child remember by creating a new routine for them. Utilize a visual chart and allow them to place a sticker on it when they brush their teeth. After they’ve achieved a certain amount of stickers on the chart, give them a fun prize to reinforce their new, healthy habit.

Children’s Dentistry Is Your Pediatric Dentist In Las Vegas

Of course, there’s more to your child’s oral care than simply brushing teeth more than once a day. They also need to visit the pediatric dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning and check-up. As children grow older, they may also need orthodontic care as well.

If you live in the greater Las Vegas area, you can’t do any better than visiting Children’s Dentistry for all your pediatric dental needs. With 10 different locations, there’s certain to be a location near where you live. Contact us today so we can schedule an appointment for your child!