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.
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in fruit, vegetables, fish and tea. Since being added to toothpaste, fluoride has contributed to a significant decline in tooth decay.
Fluoride works by strengthening tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. This is why you are advised not to rinse with either water or mouthwash after brushing your teeth, as this washes away the fluoride present in the toothpaste. Simply spit out the excess toothpaste; this will ensure that the fluoride is in contact with the teeth for as long as possible, allowing it to work.
Watch this short video from our Oral Health team to find out about age-appropriate toothpaste and advice on brushing teeth for under threes, children aged 3-6 and children over six.
Choosing fluoride toothpaste
Toothpastes containing exactly 1,000ppm fluoride include:
Toothpastes containing 1,350 – 1,500ppm fluoride include:
Oranurse non-foaming unflavoured toothpaste may be beneficial for children with additional needs who have a compromised swallow function. It is also suitable for autistic children who cannot tolerate flavored toothpaste.
Oralieve ultra mild toothpaste is recommended for dry mouth relief.
Step by step guide to brushing your child’s teeth
Place the head of the toothbrush against the teeth, then tilt the bristle tips to a 45-degree angle against the gum line. Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of every tooth.
Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against the gum line.
Do this again, but on the inside surfaces of all the teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small, circular strokes with the front part of the brush.
Brush the biting surfaces of the teeth.
Spit out after brushing and do not rinse, so that the fluoride stays on the teeth longer. Rinsing after toothbrushing washes away the fluoride contained in toothpaste which strengthens the teeth and prevents tooth decay. Toothpaste contains more fluoride than mouthwash.
If routine toothbrushing is difficult, this short video from our Oral Health team gives advice on things that might help.