Caring for Children's Teeth

As a parent, you play an important part in your child's oral health. Good habits start young, so by teaching your children the easy steps to proper oral care, they will have taken the first steps towards a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

TEACH good habits early. Imitation is the best way to teach your child how to brush. Children as young as two or three can learn to brush by watching you, although you should follow up with a thorough brushing at least once a day.

Children do not have the skill to use a toothbrush properly until they are about eight or nine.

Check their teeth regularly until they are about eight years old to ensure they have brushed properly. Plaque disclosing tablets or solution are a good way to check your child's brushing. These contain an approved food dye which stains the plaque so your child can see where they have missed.

Parents may be advised by their dentist to begin flossing their children's teeth when the teeth begin to fit closely together. By the age of 13 children should be able to floss by themselves.

BEGIN dental visits early. Early dental visits can prevent minor problems from becoming major ones. Your dentist will be able to detect any early signs of dental decay and if appropriate, advise the use of fluoride at home or in the surgery. It is also important to familiarise children with the dental environment so that the first visit will be fun. Encourage a positive attitude towards dental visits by following these tips:

Dental Sealants

Decay usually starts on the chewing surfaces of back molar teeth. Dental sealants are plastic coatings applied to these chewing surfaces. Applied by a dentist, sealants form a barrier that keeps food and bacteria out of tiny grooves (pits and fissures) in the tooth enamel, places a toothbrush cannot reach.


Fluorides are critical in protecting teeth from decay in the following ways:

For children under the age of six always use a pea sized amount of reduced fluoride toothpaste. Alternatively, health authorities recommend just a smear of regular toothpaste be applied to their brush. The fluoride in toothpaste is clinically proven to protect children's teeth against decay.

Snack wisely

Eating a balanced diet helps keep their mouth and teeth, as well as body, healthy.

To decrease their chances of cavities and plaque formation, follow these simple tips:

Source: Colgate Oral Care Brochure - Caring for Children's Teeth

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