Ensuring the cleanliness of your child's mouth and teeth | Dental Treatment Guide

It is important to start oral hygiene from an early age and this should begin before your child's first tooth has appeared. This can be done by cleaning their tongue, cheeks and gums each day. When the child is too young to use a toothbrush in their mouth you can clean it using a damp cloth. When doing this you should try to examine the mouth for any signs of abnormality such as red or white spots.

When the first tooth appears it is important to keep the gums clean as if this is not done it could lead to inflammation or cavities as a result of plaque. When you notice a white, sticky substance which is plaque this must be cleaned away. Initially children's teeth will have gaps in between them when they first appear but as they start to grow next to each other it is necessary to start to floss. This helps to clean the areas of the teeth that a brush cannot reach.

What about tooth brushing?

It is best to clean children's teeth before they go to bed as during the night they will experience a decreased flow of saliva which means that there is less protection against cavities. Children should learn to brush their own teeth and become used to the experience but you should help to show them how to do this properly first. There are 5 main steps to follow when brushing:

  1. Upper and Outer
    Brush each tooth around the outside of all the upper teeth.
  2. Lower and Outer
    Brush each tooth around the outside of the lower jaw.
  3. Lower and Inner
    Brush each tooth around the inside of the lower jaw.
  4. Upper and Inner
    Brush each tooth around the inside of the upper teeth.
  5. Brush the back teeth on the upper and lower jaw, concentrating on the area where you bite.

Type of toothbrush

You should use a toothbrush that is age appropriate for your child. A smaller brush head will mean that you are better able to see what you are doing. You should brush gently so that you do not damage the gums and tissue.

What about flossing?

When 2 teeth begin to touch each other this is when you should start flossing to help remove plaque from between the teeth. To floss you should use a sawing motion by sliding the floss up and down each tooth. Every tooth should be flossed in this manner.

What is the best toothpaste for children?

Fluoride can help to prevent cavities after brushing so it is recommended to use toothpaste that contains this ingredient. It is important to use fluoridated toothpaste on your child's teeth from about the age of 6. Only use a minimal amount of toothpaste as if you use too much then it will be difficult to see what you are doing. Using excessive amounts of toothpaste can increase the risk of your child developing brown or white spots on their adult teeth. This is known as fluorosis and is caused by having too much fluoride in the body.

Further Information about Cleaning Childrens Teeth