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Children

Kids

From brushing their first tooth to their first trip to the dentist, here’s how to take care of your children’s teeth.

A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for good dental health:

  • Start to brush your baby’s gums with a soft toothbrush at bath time, or even let your baby have a go themselves as long as you supervise them. This establishes brushing their teeth as part of the washing routine.
  • Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through (usually at around six months, but it can be earlier or later). It’s important to use a fluoride toothpaste as this helps prevent and control tooth decay.
  • Brush your child’s teeth for at least two minutes twice a day, once just before bedtime and at least one other time during the day. Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste but not to rinse with lots of water.
  • Assist your child with their tooth brushing until your child is seven or eight years old, either by brushing their teeth yourself or, if they brush their own teeth, by watching how they do it. From the age of seven or eight they should be able to brush their own teeth, but it’s still a good idea to watch them now and again to make sure they brush properly and for the whole two minutes.

Taking your child to the dentist

Once you’ve established a good tooth-brushing routine at home, the next step is the first trip to the dentist. These tips can make this a lot easier:

  • Take your child to the dentist when they’re as young as possible and at least once by the time they’re two. This is so they become familiar with the environment and get to know the dentist. The dentist can also give dietary advice to help prevent decay and identify any health problems at an early stage. Just opening up the child’s mouth for the dentist to take a look is useful practice for when they could benefit from future preventive care.
  • When you visit the dentist, be positive about it and make the trip fun. This will stop your child worrying about future visits.
  • Take your child with you when you go for your own dental check-up appointments so they get used to it.

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