Caring for Children's Teeth

Brushing younger children’s teeth

For the maximum prevention of tooth decay for children aged 0-6 years old, use a toothpaste which contains 1350-1500 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. The amount of fluoride in a toothpaste can be found on the side of the tube or packaging. Do not let you child lick or eat toothpaste.

Encourage the child to spit the toothpaste out after brushing but don’t let them rinse out with water.This washes away the fluoride and reduces how well it works, so spit don’t rinse!

Top tips for older children 12-17 years

As part of a daily oral health care routine in addition to brushing its important for older children to clean between their teeth using an interdental brush.

Some teenager may not have large enough spaces between their teeth for an interdental brush, so flossing can be a useful alternative. Your dental team will show you the best way to clean in-between teeth.

If your child has an orthodontic brace, ensure they clean both their teeth and appliance carefully, as shown by you dental team.

Dental Visits

It is recommended you take your young child with you to your dental appointments to familiarise them with the routine and the surroundings. From the age of 2 years your child should have a full set of deciduous teeth and will need to have regular examinations to help prevent problems occurring.

Children aged 3-16 years should have a fluoride varnish applied to their teeth if they are at particular risk of tooth decay. This can be done by the dental hygienist on prescription from a dentist.

Healthy eating tips

Each time we eat sugary food and drink, the bacteria in dental plaque produce acid that attacks teeth. If we eat sugary food and drink frequently throughout the day we have more frequent ‘acid attacks’, which can lead to dental decay.


  • Breast milk is the only food or drink the baby needs for around their first 6 months. Formula milk is the only suitable alternative to breast milk.
  • From the age of 6 months, bottle fed babies should be introduced to drinking from a free-flow cup.
  • Bottle feeding should be discouraged from 12 months.
  • Only breast or formula milk or cooled, boiled water should be given in bottles.
  • Only milk or water should be drunk between meals and avoid adding sugar to your babies food or drink.

For all children

  • Reduce the amount and frequency of having food and drink containing sugar and only give sweet food, including dried fruit, at mealtimes.
  • Squashes sweetened with sugar and fizzy drinks, soft and juice drinks should not be part of your child’s daily diet.
  • Limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies your child drinks to a maximum of one portion (150mls) a day and ensure they drink it at mealtimes to reduce the risk of decay.
  • Always ask for sugar-free medicines.

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