Brushing your Children’s Teeth FAQs7th April 2020
Brushing your children’s teeth can sometimes feel like trying to wrestle an octopus into a wet suit! But hopefully with some of this information we can help.
What age should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
We recommend introducing a tooth brush as soon as your child cuts their first tooth which is approximately 6 months of age. This helps your child get used to the sensation of a tooth brush and toothpaste.
What tooth brush and toothpaste should I use?
We recommend using age specific tooth brushes and fluoride toothpastes – this will be found on the front or label of the tooth brush/toothpaste. For children under 3 years of age we would recommend a small manual tooth brush and to look at moving onto an electric tooth brush for children 3 years and older.
- Age 0-3: smear of toothpaste on the brush. The recommendation is between 1350ppm and 1500ppm fluoride containing toothpaste, and no less than 1000ppm.
- Age 3-6: pea sized amount of toothpaste on the brush. The recommendation is between 1350ppm and 1500ppm fluoride containing toothpaste, and no less than 1000ppm.
- Age 7+: pea sized amount of toothpaste on the brush. The recommendation is between 1350ppm and 1500ppm fluoride containing toothpaste.
We advise to brush the teeth and gums for 2 x minutes. Brush last thing at night and on 1 other occasion. All the tooth surfaces – not just the front ones!
Do not allow your child to eat/lick/swallow the toothpaste. Which yes, can be a challenge in itself!
SPIT DON’T RINSE! We advise to spit the toothpaste out after brushing and not rinsing. As rinsing will wash away the protective coating from toothpaste off the teeth.
*Encouragement: Always praise your child when they allow you to brush their teeth. This can take time to build up to brushing multiple teeth. Pulling funny faces and cheering can help too!
*Explanation: Explain to your child why brushing is important. E.g “The ‘germs’ / ‘bugs’ are not good for your mouth, this can result in the teeth and gums becoming poorly. It is very important the germs are brushed away twice daily.” An understanding why this is important can make your job easier.
*Demonstration: Showing your child how you brush your teeth can lead a good example.
We also live in a day in age where it is accessible to find tooth brushing apps / video demonstrations for children. These aids can help teach the child as well as keep them interested at the same time. Lets be honest, 2 minutes for a child is basically a life time?
*Patience: Sometimes it may feel easier to give up, but please carry on! There may be tears and tantrums but it will pay off in the long run. You definitely are not alone. You may have to start off with having your child sit on your lap and gently hold their forehead. But, hopefully after perseverance your child should be happy to have their teeth brushed as this becomes part of their routine.
*Supervision: If your child wants to brush their own teeth, allow them to start and take over towards the end to make sure they have got to all the areas which may have been missed.
Usually from around age 6+ children would prefer to brush their own teeth. However, it is important to always remain involved to check brushing is being completed properly.
*Regular check ups: As soon as the first milk tooth is through routine dental check ups are important to check the health of the teeth and mouth. Taking your child to the dentist at an early age will help get your child used to the smells and the surroundings. Your dentist can give you advice on the correct brush / toothpaste too, along with tooth brushing techniques. Your dentist will advise how frequent your child needs to be seen.
Keep calm, stay positive and just keep brushing!