Brushing teeth - Better Lives Healthy Futures

Brushing teeth

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Regular brushing will help your child to avoid tooth decay
Brushing teeth

Regular toothbrushing is very important for both children and adults. It helps to remove the bacteria and plaque that may cause tooth decay. You can help your child to get into a daily toothbrushing routine as soon as their first teeth break through.

Parents/carers should then brush or help their child to brush their teeth until they are at least seven years old to make sure the teeth are cleaned properly, to supervise the amount of toothpaste used and to prevent licking or eating the toothpaste.

How to help your child to brush their teeth

Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, last thing at night and on at least one other occasion.

Brushing at bedtime is important as it makes sure that the fluoride continues to protect the teeth while your child is asleep.

Brush thoroughly – encourage your child to (or help them to) brush all surfaces of their teeth (see further information below for advice).

Choose a toothbrush with a small head and medium-textured bristles, a manual or electric toothbrush can be used.

Use fluoride toothpaste containing 1,350 to 1,500ppm fluoride. The amount of fluoride in toothpaste can be found on the side of the tube. A pea sized amount of toothpaste is all that’s needed for children who are between 3-6 years old.

Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing but not rinse their mouth with water, as this will wash away the fluoride and reduces how well it works.

Do not give children more toothpaste if they eat the paste from the brush.

Ensure your child sees a dentist when their first teeth come through and regularly thereafter.

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Further information

How to brush teeth

This video gives you practical advice and a 'how to' brush your child's teeth.

Dental care for children

This video gives you lots of useful tips for helping your child have healthy teeth and avoid tooth decay.

Making brushing fun for kids

The free, award-winning Brush DJ app makes brushing teeth fun for your child! Watch the video on their website to see all its features.

Making toothbrushing fun for families

The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry has brought together several useful videos from Dr Ranj, Hey Duggee and CBeebies to help with toothbrushing for kids from 0-7+.

Practical guides on children’s teeth and fluoride

Downloadable leaflets from the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry for children and parents – including advice for parents of children with autism.

Growing up with healthy teeth

This video from looks at what we can do to help our children grow up with healthy teeth.

Fluoride Varnish programme - Bradford

Find out about the Fluoride Varnish programme offered by the Oral Health team at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust.

BDCFT Oral Health Improvement team - Bradford

Find out more about Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust's Oral Health Improvement team who are dedicated to improving the oral health of local communities in Bradford and Airedale.

Related topics

Reducing tooth decay

Sugary food and drinks can cause tooth decay and pain, impacting on your child's health and wellbeing
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Visiting the dentist

NHS dental treatment for children is free for children under 18
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Healthy eating

Healthy eating is important for healthy growth and development.
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Oral Health service

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust's Oral Health team offers a range of programmes including fluoride varnish applications and a toothbrushing programme delivered in primary and special schools.
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