Starting good oral hygiene habits early is very important. The more that things are familiar and part of a routine, the more accepting children are of them, oral health is no different. Did you know that children who begin cleaning their mouth and teeth before their first birthday have a lower risk of decay!
There are many kids toothpastes on the market, here is a guide for which is more appropriate for your child’s age:
Even though newborns do not have any teeth, it is important to keep their gums and tongue clean. Newborns are prone to developing fungal infections such as oral candida which shows up as white spots on their tongue and gums. Wiping these areas daily with a clean piece of gauze or cloth that has been dipped in boiled water is a good way to prevent this.
6 months old to 17 months old
Teeth should be cleaned with a toothbrush by an adult, without any fluoridated toothpaste. At this age children are unable to spit out the excess paste. Another option is a product called Tooth Mousse by GC which contains the tooth strengthening products of milk, but does not contain any fluoride. It also comes in fruity flavours that can be more appealing to children who do not like the strong mint taste of other toothpastes.
18 months old to 5 years old
Teeth should be cleaned twice a day with a low fluoride toothpaste (0.5 to 0.55mg/g of fluoride or 500 to 550ppm). A small pea-sized amount should be used with a child’s soft toothbrush. The child should then spit out the excess. This should be done under adult supervision.
6 years old and above
Teeth should be cleaned twice a day with a standard fluoridated toothpaste (1mg/g or 1000ppm). Children should spit out the excess. If flavour is an issue, try Tooth Mousse Plus, which is the fluoridated version. This comes in berry flavours which kids love!
Flossing is a tricky one to know when your kid should be starting. Most children’s baby teeth have spaces between them so flossing is not as necessary. However, if your child has crowded or very tight contacts between their teeth, flossing may have to begin earlier on. Please discuss this with your dentist.
Children with a higher risk of decay
If your child is at a higher risk of tooth decay please discuss with your dentist what would be the best protocol for your child. For example, this can include children who do not have access to fluoridated water or who have a health condition that puts them at a higher risk. These children may require a higher concentration of fluoride at a younger age, or require different products.