Clean teeth without tears

Your child will need help brushing their teeth until they are eight years old, so why not make it fun? Here’s how to start the routine the right way with babies and toddlers.

Your child’s teeth will start to appear between the ages of six and 10 months.

As soon the first teeth start to emerge, you can begin gently wiping your baby’s gums twice a day using a clean, damp cloth (in the morning and before bed). Try distracting your baby by singing their favourite song as you do this.

Your baby’s first teeth should last for six to 12 years. So do not put your baby to bed with a bottle as this can cause tooth decay.

Using a toothbrush

When your child’s first few teeth have fully emerged, start cleaning them with a small, soft-bristle toothbrush.

Water and a brush is all you need to clean their teeth until your child is 18 months old.

After that, you can begin using a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste as well.

At this point, your toddler might insist on brushing their own teeth. Let them copy you as you brush your teeth for a minute, then make a game of ‘checking’ how well they have done.

This is when you actually clean their teeth. Use a gentle, circular motion along the gum line, making sure to brush the insides, outsides and tops of teeth.

The trick is to make this two minutes of brushing fun. Sing a song, count their teeth or let your child ‘check’ your teeth next.

Brushing their teeth will soon become an expected routine after breakfast and before bed.

More tips

Find more tips on oral health at the Queensland Government’s Feel Good Facts website.

Free dental check-ups

Queensland children may be eligible for a free dental check-up. Book your child’s first dental check-up before they turn two. Regular checks at the dentist will help to prevent tooth decay.

For more information, check out Queensland Health’s website.

Image Baby using a teething rusk to bite while teething

Published — 03 September 2016 Last updated — 30 April 2019

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