Experts Weigh In On When Kids Should Learn To Spit And Why It’s So Important

Inevitably, your child will spit more than you’d like (mainly when it’s aimed at a sibling rather than the bathroom sink). It can take years for children to learn how to spit, which can impact eating, brushing their teeth, and other everyday activities.

Dr. Gary Liu, a board-certified pediatric dentist, describes spitting as a very complex action involving the muscles of the mouth, tongue, breath exhalation, and awareness of why and when to spit appropriately. Each child is different in development and growth, so spitting is a separate process.

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Liu says most kids in his practice begin spitting around 3 or 4, but some start as young as 2. He said, “At this age, they can control their body movements more and more as their sensory-motor abilities develop. They also understand why we need to spit and when to do it appropriately.”

It’s an essential skill to develop and one that children need to practice regardless of their age.

What Is The Importance Of Spitting?

Spitting is essential when kids brush their teeth to prevent swallowing toothpaste, mainly if it contains fluoride. Your kid has likely swallowed toothpaste before (and maybe still does). That’s generally not a concern, but you should curb it before it becomes a habit. Liu said, “If fluoride toothpaste is swallowed in small quantities, there are no effects on the body.”

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Is There A Way To Make My Child Spit?

Children learn from examples. Spit is one of the best ways to teach your kids. Dr. Harvey Karp, the founder of Happiest Baby, said, “Do it over the sink in the bathroom.”. Even put some toothpaste in the sink as a target for you to hit – or you can try hitting the drain.”

Alternatively, you can begin by introducing alternative ways to avoid swallowing. To start, Scott suggests having the child sip water. They should open their mouth to let out the water instead of consuming it.

Is There A Good Place For My Kid To Spit?

Spitting is a skill that some kids take and misuse when they are not in the proper context. It depends on the situation, but familiar places are the bathroom sink, toilet, garbage can, etc. A medical emergency may call for spitting anywhere, but most of the time, it’s done privately.