About children’s teeth
Baby teeth can arrive in any order. All 20 baby teeth usually arrive by 3 years. Start cleaning teeth as soon as they come through.
The 32 adult teeth appear between 6 and 20 years. Clean your child’s teeth and gums twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed.
Brushing teeth: getting started
Use a soft, small child’s toothbrush. Under 18 months, use only water for cleaning teeth. From 18 months to 3 years, use a smear of low-fluoride toothpaste. At 3-6 years, use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste. From 6 years, use a pea-sized amount of adult fluoride toothpaste.
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 or even lie babies and toddlers on your lap.
Use your free hand to support your child’s chin. Ask your child to open up and say ‘ah’. Check for any signs of decay, like a white line or brown spots on the teeth close to the gums. Check for plaque build-up on teeth around the gumline.
Brushing teeth: steps
Using small circular motions, brush all sides of each tooth and the gums. Brush backwards and forwards on all chewing surfaces. Brush for 2 minutes.
When brushing is finished, your child should spit out leftover toothpaste, but they don’t need to rinse out their mouth. Rinse the brush, and put it somewhere clean to dry.
Avoid giving your child sugary foods or drinks. Don’t give your child a bottle of breastmilk or formula when they go to bed. Always take away bottles after feeding.