When should I start brushing my children’s teeth?

Here at Hello Dental, Colchester we often get asked when should I start brushing my children’s teeth? The simple answer is as soon as they come through. A baby’s first teeth usually erupt around 6 months. Up until 3 years of age you should be using only a smear of 1450ppm (parts per million) toothpaste as demonstrated in photo 1. Once a child reaches aged 3 then until 6 years of age a small pea-size blob of 14500ppm toothpaste, as seen in photo 2. After age 6 then a pea size blob can be used.

Brushing Teeth
We recommend a fluoride toothpaste to all our patients as per the Department of Health’s guidelines. Dental conditions such as dental decay and periodontal diseases can both be reduced by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride serves to prevent, control and arrest caries. In periodontal disease it is the action of brushing and physical removal of plaque which reduces the inflammatory response of the gums and improves gum health. The Department of Health document for delivering better oral health has published some principles that should be followed to maximise the preventive action of toothbrushing.

  • brushing should start as soon as the first primary tooth erupts
  • brushing should occur twice daily as a minimum – clean teeth last thing at night before bed and at least one other time each day
  • children under three years should use a toothpaste containing no less than 1,000 ppm fluoride
  • children under three years should use no more than a smear of toothpaste and must not be permitted to eat or lick toothpaste from the tube
  • family fluoride toothpaste (1,350-1,500ppm) is indicated for maximum caries control for all children except those who cannot be prevented from eating toothpaste
  • children between three and six years should use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
  • children need to be helped or supervised by an adult when brushing until at least seven years of age and must not be permitted to eat or lick toothpaste from the tube
  • rinsing with lots of water or mouthwash after brushing should be discouraged – spitting out excess toothpaste is preferable
  • disclosing tablets can help to indicate areas that are being missed

if you have an questions regarding your children’s oral health please contact us where one of our staff here at Hello Dental, Colchester will be able to assist you.