Tooth brushing

Tooth brushing is a skill that takes a while to learn and is best taught by chaining-learning the whole routine in steps before learning the next one.




Tooth brushing picture routine (optional)


Teaching your child to spit is a very difficult skill for any child. This is especially true for a child with special needs. Adult toothpaste contains fluoride which can be a safety concern if consumed in high amounts. Talk to your pediatrician before switching from children’s toothpaste to adult toothpaste.


Tooth brushing should be learned step by step. The child should learn to do one step before learning the next.  Below are the basic steps to the routine. It is best to teach one step at a time learning the last step first. This means you do hand over hand prompting for all the steps except the last step. Your child is then expected to complete the last step independently. Once they are able to do this they are then expected to complete the last 2 steps independently and so on. You can vary the steps for tooth brushing as you see fit, but for an idea of all the steps needed to independently learn tooth brushing see below.

1.       Get toothbrush

2.       Get toothpaste

3.       Open toothpaste

4.       Turn on water

5.       Wet toothbrush

6.       Turn off water

7.       Put a small amount of toothpaste on brush

8.       Put toothbrush in mouth on lower left teeth

9.       Brush lower left teeth 5 times

10.   Put toothbrush in mouth on lower right teeth

11.   Brush lower right teeth 5 times

12.   Turn toothbrush for upper teeth

13.   Put toothbrush in mouth on upper left teeth

14.   Brush upper left teeth 5 times

15.   Put toothbrush in mouth on upper right teeth

16.   Brush upper right teeth 5 times

17.   Turn toothbrush for front teeth

18.   Put toothbrush on lower front teeth

19.   Brush lower front teeth 5 times

20.   Put toothbrush on upper front teeth

21.   Brush upper front teeth 5 times

22.   Spit out toothpaste (if your child cannot spit do not spend time teaching this step-see safety information)

23.   Turn on water

24.   Rinse toothbrush

25.  Turn off water

26.   Put away toothbrush

27.   Put cap on toothpaste

28.   Put away toothpaste

29.   Get towel

30. Wipe mouth

31. Hang up towel

August 21, 2011 This post was written by Categories: Daily Living Skills Activities No comments yet

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