Parental Resources

Current New Zealand guidelines to help improve your child’s oral health

A Complete Guide to Properly Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for your child’s dental health. As soon as their teeth start to erupt, it’s time to establish a regular teeth-cleaning routine. In this blog post, we will provide you with valuable tips and guidelines to ensure your child’s teeth are cleaned effectively and prevent dental issues such as cavities and decay.

Start Early and Brush Twice a Day

To set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth, begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear. Use a small soft toothbrush suitable for their age and brush their teeth twice a day. The best times are after breakfast and before bedtime.

Lift the Lip and Check for Cavities

To detect any early signs of tooth decay, lift your child’s lip and carefully inspect the front teeth. This simple step can help you identify cavities early on and take appropriate action to prevent further damage.

Harness the Power of Fluoride

The Ministry of Health recommends using a toothpaste that contains 1000 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride for all ages. Fluoride plays a crucial role in preventing tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel, repairing early stages of decay, and inhibiting the growth of decay-causing bacteria. Make sure to choose a toothpaste with the recommended fluoride content to provide optimal protection for your child’s teeth.

Appropriate Toothpaste Amount

When it comes to toothpaste, the quantity matters. For children aged 0-5 years, a half pea-sized amount of toothpaste is sufficient. As your child grows older, around 6 years and above, increase the toothpaste amount to a pea-sized portion. Remember, a little goes a long way!

Assist Until Dexterity Develops

Children may require assistance in brushing their teeth until they develop better dexterity, typically around 7-8 years old. Ensure you supervise and guide them in proper brushing techniques to thoroughly clean their teeth and gums.

Choose the Right Brushing Position: When it comes to brushing your child’s teeth, find a comfortable position that works best for both of you. You can either have your child lie down, similar to being in a dentist’s chair, or stand behind them, mimicking your own teeth-brushing routine. Experiment and see which approach yields the best results.

Skip the Rinse

After brushing, advise your child to avoid rinsing their mouth with water. This allows the fluoride from the toothpaste to stay on the teeth longer, providing extended protection against tooth decay. Simply spit out the excess foam and leave the fluoride to work its magic.

Embrace Flossing

Once your child’s back teeth start touching, usually around the age of 3-4 years, it’s time to introduce flossing into their oral care routine. Gently floss between their teeth to remove any trapped food particles and prevent decay. A helpful tip is to tie the floss in a circle for easier maneuvering while your child lies on their back.

Establishing good oral hygiene habits from an early age sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your child’s teeth are properly cleaned, preventing cavities, decay, and other dental issues. Remember, regular dental check-ups are also vital to monitor your child’s oral health and address any concerns. Start now, and give your child the gift of a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth!

Share the Post: