Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine tooth-brushing frequency in 575 urban and nearby suburban African American children as part of a comprehensive risk-reduction study for students at high risk for violence, drugs, school delinquency, and unsafe sexual behaviors to determine which covariates predicted tooth-brushing frequency. Methods Students were surveyed 5 times, from the beginning of grade 5 and the end of each year through grade 8, and parents were surveyed at the beginning of grade 5. Peer influence, importance of being liked, self-esteem, attitudes towards tooth-brushing, oral health knowledge, self-efficacy, parental attitudes, and other covariates were examined for the ability to predict self-reporting of tooth-brushing frequency. Results In the fifth grade, peer influence, the importance of being liked, and physical self-esteem were the significant predictors, and peer influence continued to predict tooth-brushing in the eighth grade. Oral health knowledge and parental influence were not significant. Conclusion Peer influence is an important factor in tooth-brushing behavior in metropolitan African American preadolescent children.