This page gives simple advice that parents and carers can follow to help improve children’s oral health. We have taken guidance from “Delivering better oral health: an evidence-based toolkit for prevention”.

When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

Start brushing as soon as first tooth appears

How often should I brush my child’s teeth?

Brush twice a day – Before bed and another time in the day to suit your routine
Help your childĀ – help your child brush their teeth until they are at least 7 years old. Make sure you brush for at least two minutes and cover all surfaces of the teeth.
Encourage SpittingĀ – Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste at the end of brushing but do not rinse their mouth with water. This will wash away the fluoride protection.

Brush and toothpaste

Use a small soft tooth brush for babies, for older children a small headed medium texture toothbrush.

For maximum protection choose a toothpaste with levels of fluoride in the range of 1350 – 1500 ppm.

  • Children under 3 should use a smear of toothpaste no less that 1000ppm fluoride
  • Children over 3 should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste no less that 1000ppm fluoride

Two toothbrushes illustrating a smear of 
toothpaste and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste

Going to the dentist

Take your child to dentist as often as the dentist recommends. Ask your dentist about fluoride varnish. All children over 3 should have this applied to their teeth.