Get Ready To Smile

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. Follow our tips and you can help keep your kids teeth decay free...

Tooth brushing tips

  • Brush your child's teeth for about 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. Rinsing with water after tooth brushing will wash away the fluoride and make it less effective.
  • Supervise 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 about two minutes.

Toothpaste tips

  • Children of all ages can use family toothpaste, as long as it contains 1,350-1,500 parts per fluoride. Check the packet if you’re not sure, or ask your dentist for a recommendation.
  • Below the age of 3, children should use a smear of toothpaste and children ages 3-6 should use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste.
  • Make sure children don’t eat or lick toothpaste.

Taking your child to the dentist

  • NHS dental care for children is free.
  • Take your child to the dentist when their first milk teeth appear. This is so they become familiar with the environment and get to know the dentist. The dentist can help prevent decay and identify any oral health problems at an early stage. Just opening up the child's mouth for the dentist to take a look at is useful practise for the future.
  • When you visit the dentist, be positive about it and make the trip fun. This will stop your child worrying about future visits.

How to help children brush their teeth properly

  • Guide your child's hand so they can feel the correct movement and use a mirror to help them see exactly where the brush is cleaning their teeth.
  • Make tooth brushing as fun as possible by using an egg timer to time.
  • Don't let children run around with a toothbrush in their mouth, as they may have an accident and hurt themselves.
  • Make it as fun as possible, not a chore.