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What’s the best way to brush my child’s teeth?
Proper brushing can start even before teeth begin to appear. You can brush your baby’s gums with a soft brush or some clean muslin wrapped around your finger. Once they have their milk teeth, brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes.
For children under three, you can use a low-fluoride toothpaste, containing about 1000ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. The amount should be written on the packaging or you can check with your dentist. Use a dot of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice or a thin smear.
Here are some tips for when brushing children’s teeth.
- Children between the ages of three and six can use toothpaste containing between 1350 and 1500 ppm fluoride. Check the packaging or speak with your dentist.
- Children between three and six should only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Make sure they spit out any excess and don’t eat or lick the toothpaste.
- Brush once before bed and one other time during the day for at least two minutes. An egg timer can make it a bit more fun.
- Use a mirror to show your child where they are brushing and encourage them to watch you.
- Replace the brush every three months or when bristles start to spread, whichever is sooner.
- Supervise your child brushing their teeth until the age of seven or eight.
- After this age it is a good idea to check your child’s brushing routine every now and again to make sure they are cleaning correctly.