We all know that parents want to look after their kids in the best way possible – but sometimes, it can be hard to get the right information from the right source. So here it is: Even before your baby has teeth coming through, you can use a wet cloth to gently clean their gums to get them used to the sensation of having their mouth cleaned. When their first teeth do erupt, between 4 and 10 months, you can start to use a soft, small toothbrush, like this one. You do not need toothpaste at this stage, just water will be fine. Introduce toothpaste around 18 months of age, starting with one of the toothpastes designed for children under the age of 2. At this age, the right amount of toothpaste to use is the size of a grain of rice.

Try to make brushing time a fun time with a game or their favourite music playing. During this age, some kids love to chew on their toothbrush. I recommend keeping a separate toothbrush for them to chew on, and one for you to use to brush their teeth. When you are confident that they are no longer swallowing their toothpaste, you can upgrade them to a toothpaste that has a concentration of fluoride that’s much higher, with ages 2-5 or even 6+ on the box. Remember to keep trying to make toothbrushing time, a fun time! Some kids around this age can make it very difficult for you to do a good job.

It is important for you to persevere and clean their teeth twice a day, otherwise tooth decay can set in. You can also introduce tooth floss at this age – or whenever you see two teeth are touching together. Lay your child’s head onto your knees and I recommend using a flossette helper to make it easier for you. Now that you can be more confident that your child will not be swallowing their toothpaste, you can upgrade them to adult toothpaste, with supervision. The reason is that adult toothpaste has a higher concentration of fluoride in it which is proven to help prevent decay. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste is all you need for it to be effective at preventing tooth decay. You can also begin to teach your child how to effectively brush their teeth as their dexterity gets better.

That is, brushing with a small back and forth, massaging motion, or circles, making sure to brush around the gumline both on the outside and inside of the teeth. Don’t forget the inside and outside of the front teeth and the chewing surfaces! You will still need to brush and floss your child’s teeth up until around 7 or 8 years of age as they still will not be able to do it 100 percent effectively. Now they’re old enough to take care of their own brushing and flossing! But make sure you continue to check in periodically to make sure that they are doing a good job! .

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