By Raising Children Network
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About children’s teeth

Baby teeth and adult teeth chart illustrations
  • Baby teeth can arrive in any order. All baby teeth usually arrive by three years. Start cleaning teeth as soon as they come through. Use a clean, damp face washer to clean baby gums and back and front of each tooth.
  • The 32 adult teeth replace baby teeth between the ages of 6 and 20 years. Supervise and help clean children’s teeth until 8 years. Brush teeth and gums twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed.

Brushing teeth: getting started

Use a smear of toothpaste; stand behind your child and support her chin; check for decay
  • Under 18 months, don’t use toothpaste. From 18 months to 6 years, use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste. From 6 years, use a pea-sized amount of standard fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft small child’s toothbrush.
  • Sit or stand behind your child in a brightly lit place, ideally in front of a mirror. This lets your child see what you’re doing. It’s easier to sit toddlers on your lap.
  • Use your free hand to support your child’s chin. Ask her to open up and say ‘ah’. Check for any signs of decay, such as a white or brown line on the teeth close to the gums. Check for plaque build-up on teeth around the gum line.

Brushing teeth: steps

Use circular motions; spit without rinsing; eat a nutritious diet.
  • Using small circular motions, brush all sides of each tooth and the gums. Brush backwards and forwards on all chewing surfaces. Take the most care with the back teeth.
  • After you’ve finished brushing, your child should spit out any leftover toothpaste, but don’t rinse out the mouth. Rinse toothbrush, and put somewhere clean to dry.
  • Avoid giving your child sugary snacks or drinks, especially between meals. Avoid giving your child a bottle of milk, formula or juice in bed. Always take away bottles after feeding.
  • Last updated or reviewed 26-10-2015