Health & Safety

Dental Health

Brushing teeth: getting started


Under 18 months, don’t use toothpaste. From 18 months to 6 years, use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste. From 6 years, use a pea-sized amount of standard fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft small child’s toothbrush.


Sit or stand behind your child in a brightly lit place, ideally in front of a mirror. This lets your child see what you’re doing. It’s easier to sit toddlers on your lap.


Use your free hand to support your child’s chin. Ask her to open up and say ‘ah’. Check for any signs of decay, such as a white or brown line on the teeth close to the gums. Check for plaque build-up on teeth around the gum line.

Brushing teeth: steps


Using small circular motions, brush all sides of each tooth and the gums. Brush backwards and forwards on all chewing surfaces. Take the most care with the back teeth.


After you’ve finished brushing, your child should spit out any leftover toothpaste, but don’t rinse out the mouth. Rinse toothbrush, and put somewhere clean to dry.


Avoid giving your child sugary snacks or drinks, especially between meals. Avoid giving your child a bottle of milk, formula or juice in bed. Always take away bottles after feeding.


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