Children's Dental Care
The foundation for a healthy mouth is laid when the first tooth erupts and toothbrushing becomes a natural part of your child’s day. When that first baby tooth emerges, it’s time to start brushing with a toothpaste that contains fluoride of 1000ppm and continue to supervise brushing until at least 7 years of age. After the age of 3 children should be encouraged to spit out excess toothpaste and not rinse with water after brushing.
Why is dental care important for children?Dental care plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall health and well-being of children. Just like adults, children need to take care of their teeth and gums to prevent dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. By establishing good oral hygiene habits from an early age, parents can set their children up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
When should children start brushing their teeth?Parents should start cleaning their baby's gums even before the first tooth appears. Using a soft, damp cloth or a silicone finger brush, gently wipe the gums after feeding.
The first baby tooth usually breaks through at around 6-8 months, but it can be earlier or later. Signs of tooth eruption may include increased salivation or drooling, sleeping disturbances, loss of appetite, and increased biting.
Use a small toothbrush such as the TePe Mini and apply a smear layer of TePe Daily Baby, a mild toothpaste without SLS, on the tip of the bristles
How often should children brush their teeth?Brush twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. Try to make toothbrushing something fun by singing a song or doing something playful while being close and having eye contact. It’s convenient to have your child laying down on the changing table, head nearest to you. Gently lift the child’s lip to be able to see and reach better. Here are some other things to think about during those first years:
- Healthy eating habits for the rest of the family get your baby on the right track when it’s time to stop breast/bottle feeding. Three main meals and two snacks are a good habit for everyone.
- Make water the natural thirst quencher
- Avoid sweets for as long as possible and when introduced, try to keep them to one day a week
What type of toothpaste should children use?For children under the age of three, use a smear of fluoride toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. From ages three to six, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is sufficient. Make sure your child spits out the toothpaste after brushing but does not rinse with water, as this allows the fluoride to continue protecting their teeth.
How do you keep the kids oral care routine as they grow?
2-6 years of ageContinue to brush your child’s teeth as they grow. As they get bigger, they can sit on your lap, leaning their head on your arm for better accessibility. Don’t rush through the brushing – that brushing time in the morning and evening is well-invested for the future. For children 2-6 years of age, the amount of toothpaste used should equal the size of a pea. If your child prefers an unflavoured toothpaste you can continue to use TePe Daily Baby. You can also try the TePe Daily Kids, which has a mild peppermint flavour. When the child can spit, often around 3 years of age, the toothpaste should be spat out and not swallowed.
Around 3-5 years of age
Here you can transition to a bigger toothbrush; try the TePe Kids or TePe Select Compact.
For children 6 years and older, use 2 cm of toothpaste (this recommendation varies from country to country). Remember they still need a mild, SLS-free toothpaste (Pure mild peppermint link) since the oral tissue of children is quite sensitive. It’s great if you can give some extra attention to the new molars which emerge behind the last baby teeth at around age 6. Their chewing surfaces are irregular and extra sensitive to cavities. The TePe Compact Tuft is a precision brush used to keep chewing surfaces free from food debris and plaque. With age, the child can start practicing brushing their teeth, but we do recommend you help and support them until 10-12 years of age. From the age of 12, the TePe Supreme Compact or the TePe Select Toothbrush are good choices.
Cleaning between teeth for is usually not recommended until all the permanent teeth have emerged completely at around age 12-13. If your dental professional advises you to start cleaning between the teeth earlier than that, you should, of course, follow their recommendation.
Our best tips for healthy teeth throughout life:
- Brush twice a day
- Always brush systematically so that you don’t miss any surfaces. For example, brush chewing surfaces, then insides, then outsides of all teeth.
- It’s not only about cavities – healthy gums are important, and bacteria love to gather along the gumline. Place the bristles at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line to keep the gums happy and healthy.
- Be an inspiration. If your child sees you brushing morning and evening, he or she will want to do it too (even though we know the first two years can be a challenge sometimes). Better yet, if they see you cleaning between your teeth, they will also want to do this when the time comes.
- Sugar, sweet drinks, and snacking between meals are major risk factors for tooth decay (link to that section). Healthy eating habits benefit the whole family – and the whole body!
Milk teeth, baby teeth, primary teeth, deciduous teeth?
It’s all the same! They are just different names used for the first set of teeth.
How many baby teeth are there?
There are 20 baby teeth, and they will normally all have erupted before 3 years of age.
Why are baby teeth important if they come out anyways?
Baby teeth help children eat well, are important for speech development, and they are a placeholder for future permanent teeth. They come out at different ages for a reason – they help guide the permanent teeth into the right position. Healthy and cavity-free teeth also keep the child away from unnecessary dental treatments.
How many adult teeth are there?
There are 32 permanent teeth, however, it’s quite common for the last tooth, the wisdom tooth, not to erupt or to be missing. The first permanent tooth emerges around age 6-7 and the second molar emerges around age 12-13.
How much fluoride toothpaste should I use?For children 0-2 years, a smear layer of toothpaste should be applied to the bristles of the toothbrush. For children 2-6 years, the amount of toothpaste used should equal the size of a pea. When the child can spit (often around 3 years of age), the toothpaste should be spat out and not swallowed. For children 6 years and older, use 2 cm of toothpaste.