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What we have to say about your health and well being
28
May 2014
Little Gnashers - Brushing children's teeth

When should you start brushing a baby’s teeth and do you need a special toothbrush and toothpaste?

  • Even before the first milk tooth comes through it's a good idea to gently clean your child's gums with a soft cloth after feeds.
  • As soon as the first tooth appears you should brush it in the morning and before bed using a gentle circular movement making sure you clean all the tooth surfaces right up to the gum.
  • From 0-2 years you should use a toothbrush with soft filaments and a broad easy-grip handle to encourage brushing and use just a smear of toothpaste.
  • From 2-5 years a toothbrush should have a soft compact head and a handle designed to provide a good grip. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste should now be used.
  • From 6 years the toothbrush should have soft bristles of differing lengths to reach in between the teeth.


Toothpaste should contain at least 1000ppm fluoride. Different areas have varying amounts of fluoride in domestic water so the recommended amount of fluoride for any particular area can be checked with the dentist.

Mildly flavoured toothpaste will encourage brushing.

How long should you supervise or help your child to brush their teeth and how can you encourage them to keep up good oral health habits?

  • Children are usually ready to take charge of brushing teeth themselves by the age of 7. However it is still important to supervise and encourage them to brush around all areas of the mouth with gentle, circular action right up to the gum line.They should be brushing for 2 minutes twice daily.
  • They should also be encouraged to spit out the toothpaste to minimise swallowing.
  • The toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months, more frequently if damaged or if the child has been ill.
  • Healthy eating will help reduce dental decay, so limit the number of times the child's teeth are exposed to sugary foods and drinks to 4 times daily.
  • Drinking through a straw avoids contact of sugary drinks with the teeth.


Finally children should visit the dentist for regular 6-monthly check-ups

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