Practical Guide to Children’s Teeth

The Importance of Fluoride

 Fluoride plays an important role in strengthening tooth enamel.  It can be found in some water supplies, toothpaste and oral health products. 

When brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, please do not rinse your child’s mouth as you will wash away the fluoride and lose its protective effect. “Spit – don’t rinse” is the mantra! Fluoride varnish may be applied by your dentist to protect your child’s adult 

Five Golden Tips For Brushing Baby’s Teeth:

  1. Introduce your baby to having their gums and teeth     cleaned from an early age, certainly by the time the first tooth comes through. 
  2. You should brush the teeth of your baby or young child until they are able to clean their teeth for themselves. All children should be supervised with their brushing until they are eight.
  3. Put a flat smear of fluoride toothpaste on your child’s brush until they are three and then the amount can be increased to a pea-sized blob. 
  4. Brushing should happen twice a day for 2 minutes, in the morning and last thing before going to bed – the last thing to touch a child’s teeth before bedtime should be fluoride toothpaste. 
  5. Once teeth have been brushed, your child should spit out the toothpaste but not rinse their mouth and, in the evening have nothing more to eat or drink before going to bed.

Caring For Your Child 6 Years and Under

Around the age of 6 months you can encourage your child to drink from a free-flowing or open top cup, so that bottle use does not continue past their first birthday

Limiting food, healthy snacks i.e. dried fruit and flavoured drinks to mealtimes. This should become part of a healthy habit for life.

After the age of one, introduce a golden hour before bed when your child has nothing to eat or drink with the exception of water. Their teeth should be brushed just before they go to bed so the last thing in the mouth is fluoride toothpaste.

If you have concerns, you should ask your dentist or ask for a referral to a Specialist in Paediatric Dentistry. 

Caring For Your Child 6+

As your child grows up, it is important that they begin to take responsibility for their own oral health as you will not be there to monitor their choices at all times.

If your child plays contact sports, ensure they have a mouth guard to optimise protection against dental trauma. Discourage sports drinks which usually have a lot of sugar and are also acidic.

From early teens, make sure there is floss in the bathroom so that your child can get in the habit of flossing their teeth before they brush.