FAQs

Stage 1 - Babies - Gummy Smiles

Why baby teeth matter
Baby tooth development
How to care for your baby’s gums and new teeth
Tooth-friendly feeding and weaning
Teething signs

Stage 2 - Toddlers - Toothy Smiles

Daily dental care for your toddler
Toddler Teething - signs, phases and remedies
Tooth-friendly snacks and drinks
Dummies and thumbsucking
Visiting the dentist

Stage 3 - Kids - Grown-up Smiles

The transition from baby to adult teeth 
Daily dental care for kids
Visiting the dentist
Choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste
Flossing

 

Why baby teeth matter 

Why is caring for your baby’s teeth important?

While your adorable little newborn might not have any teeth on show when they arrive, their baby teeth developed while they were still in the womb. This is why cleaning their gums every day is so important. Regularly cleaning your baby’s gums will reduce the levels of bacteria in their mouth (including those that can cause tooth decay) and remove food and milk deposits. This will keep their mouth and gums nice and clean, whilst gently introducing your baby to the daily dental routine. 

Do baby teeth really matter?

Absolutely! Decay in your little one’s baby teeth can cause abscesses that harm the permanent adult teeth developing inside their gums. Serious cases of decay can result in tooth extraction which is very unpleasant for you and your child. Having baby teeth extracted can also mean your child is more likely to develop orthodontic problems in future.

What causes tooth decay?

When we eat, the bacteria that live in our mouths react with the sugars in our food to produce acid. This acid then attacks our tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. This is why it’s so important for you to help your little one to look after their teeth - they will need your help to brush their teeth until they are at least 6 years old.

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Baby tooth development 

What if my baby is born with teeth? 

Very occasionally, a baby is born with one or more teeth or has a tooth emerge within the first few weeks of life. If your baby has an early tooth, don’t worry. These early teeth are usually lost early on and are not usually a cause for concern unless they are loose or if they interfere with your baby’s feeding. If you have any questions it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist.

When should I expect my baby’s first tooth?

All babies are different, just like us grown-ups! In general, you can expect your baby’s first tooth to appear when they are between 6 to 10 months, but some babies don’t see their first tooth until they are a year old or more. Always consult your dentist if you are worried.

How do baby teeth develop?

Baby teeth usually come through in cute little pairs – one on the right and one on the left side of the mouth. The lower two front teeth usually come through first, followed by the upper ones. Your baby will have about eight teeth by their first birthday, perfect for chomping on a birthday cake! By the time they are 2 1/2 to 3 years old all their 20 baby teeth will have come through.

Why are newly erupted baby teeth are more delicate?

When new baby teeth come through, they won’t have fully developed the toughened outer enamel surface to protect them and are more prone to decay and erosion. This is why avoiding sugary foods is very important, especially once you’re baby turns 6 months old and they start to eat solid food. We recommend waiting at least 20 minutes after your little one has eaten before you brush their teeth. This will help to preserve their delicate baby tooth enamel.

Why does my child lose all their baby teeth?

Your little one’s baby teeth have to fall out to make way for their permanent adult teeth to grow. You can expect this process to last six or more years from start to finish.  By the time your little one turns 3, they should have a full mouth of 20 baby teeth. The lower middle teeth are usually the first to go, around age 5 or 6 and the top middle pair should be next next. Some children lose their first tooth as early as 4 or as late as 7. Generally, the younger your little one was when their teeth came in, the earlier they are likely to fall out.

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How to care for your baby’s gums and new teeth

What should I do?

Looking after your baby’s oral care starts the day they are born. Cleaning your baby’s gums will help to prevent bacteria build up and establish a healthy environment for your baby’s new baby teeth when they come through. You should wipe your baby’s gums with a clean cloth and cooled boiled water, as part of their daily oral care routine and also after feeding. You can also use Brush-Baby DentalWipes™ to clean your baby’s gums, as it has added xylitol, a natural ingredient which helps reduce the number of decay and inflammation-causing bacteria. Another option is the the Brush-Baby Chewable Toothbrush™ which will also help to clean your baby’s gums.

How often should I clean my baby’s gums?

To clean your baby’s gums, just use a clean cloth and cooled boiled water, or a DentalWipe once or twice a day. Gently wipe around those chubby cheeks, gums and over their tongue. They can’t say thank you just yet but we promise they’ll appreciate the freshen up!

When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?

As soon as your baby’s first pearly white pops up, it’s time to shop for their first toothbrush. Even the first of your baby’s teeth needs to be cleaned, as once it has emerged bacteria and plaque will start to cling to the tooth’s surface. Cleaning your little one’s teeth twice a day helps remove these bacteria and starts to get your baby used to the toothbrushing routine and the feeling of a nice fresh mouth. Don’t forget to give toothless gums a gentle clean too with a clean, moist, soft flannel or a DentalWipe.

How should I clean my baby’s teeth?

To clean your little one’s teeth, try to sit them up up rather than lying them down. Use a small headed, soft-bristled toothbrush or a DentalWipe.  Sometimes it can help if they sit on your lap and you could even introduce a song so that they know it’s brushing time. If your little one enjoys chewing their brush, try the Chewable Toothbrush - it's designed to help clean teeth and gums as it is chewed and also acts like a teether. Let your baby see you brushing your teeth too - it will help them to realise it’s all part of the fun of the daily routine. Don’t forget to clean toothless gums too with a DentalWipe or soft, clean, moist flannel. 

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

For little ones up to the age of three, you will only need a smear of toothpaste. Look for toothpastes with no more than 1000 parts per million Fluoride, as this will ensure they don’t get too much fluoride until they are old enough to spit toothpaste out after brushing. It’s better not to rinse their mouth out after cleaning or brushing as the remaining fluoride will continue to protect their teeth after brushing time.

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Tooth-friendly feeding and weaning 

What if my baby drinks their milk from a bottle?

By the time your baby turns one, you should try to transition them to drinking from an open cup or sippy cup, so that their drinks don’t spend lots of time around their teeth. One of the best things you can do is to avoid giving your baby a bottle of milk to go to sleep with or to suck on for a long time during the day. Also don’t forget to encourage your little one to slurp their nightly milk before you brush their teeth, as opposed to afterwards. 

What tooth-friendly foods and snacks can I give my baby?

  • Calcium-rich foods like yoghurt, milk and cheese. These are also essential for your little one to build strong teeth, nails and bones.
    Make your own ice lolly by popping a stick into a no-added-sugar fromage frais and freezing it for an hour. If your baby is teething, this is a lovely soothing treat for sore gums!
  • Look out for low/no added sugar biscuits or try savoury low-salt crackers or rice cakes.
  • Opt for low or no-added sugar yogurt
  • Raw fruit and veg like carrot, celery, cucumber and apple can help ease the irritation of sore gums, especially when chilled, and are also a great source of fibre.
  • Don’t forget if your baby is unwell and you are giving them age-appropriate medicine, look out for the sugar-free option. Sugar will be listed on the ingredients and can also be referred to as glucose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, honey, hydrolyzed starch, or syrup.

What is 'bottle tooth decay'?

Baby teeth can be affected by an aggressive form of tooth decay called early childhood decay. This happens when little ones drink sugary drinks regularly throughout the day from a bottle. It starts in the upper front teeth and spreads rapidly to other teeth. This is why it’s so important to ensure your little one is drinking from an open cup or sippy cup as soon as they are able, and also that you are making tooth-friendly choices about what they drink. Try to keep sweet sugary drinks to mealtimes if you can.

Is it bad to share your baby's feeding spoon? 

Yes! Although it can be lots of fun playing aeroplanes with your baby’s feeding spoon and showing them how to eat, sharing feeding spoons should be avoided for as long as possible. Research shows that bacteria can be transmitted from parents to babies through their saliva by sharing cutlery, dummies or even kissing on the lips. As babies often fall asleep with milk, formula or food in their mouths, this leaves their little baby teeth more susceptible to dental decay. But decay only occurs if tooth tissue, carbohydrates or sugar and decay-causing bacteria are together in your little one’s mouth. So, the longer we can keep our babies away from these bacteria, the better!

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Teething signs

What are the signs of teething?

Although most babies won’t see their first tooth until between 6 and 9 months, your baby may begin teething as early as 3 months. For some, teething is painless, others may become irritable or cry and for some it can also affect their sleep. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Chewing on their fingers, or anything they can put in their mouth! This is because special chemicals are released that cause the cells in the gums to separate, allowing new teeth to come through, and chewing feels good!
  • Lots of dribbling. Saliva helps to flush your baby’s mouth and keep their gums clean, although it might mean a few more loads of washing for you! Dribble bibs can help save on a complete clothing change.
  • Red hot, rosy cheeks

Be wary of teething myths though! Teething doesn’t cause illness, but because it often starts at a time when babies immune systems are taking over from mum’s protection, they can be more susceptible to infections and viruses. Always see your GP if your baby seems unwell.

What causes the teething pain that some children experience?

Food or bacteria can get stuck around new teeth popping up and this can cause infection. This is why a clean mouth can help to prevent teething pain. Try to keep your little one’s gums and any teeth they have nice and clean by brushing twice a day.

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Stage 2 - Toddlers - Toothy Smiles

Daily dental care for your toddler

When should I start brushing my toddler’s teeth?

As soon as your baby’s first tooth comes through, it’s time to celebrate that milestone with a shopping trip to buy their first toothbrush. Even their first tooth will need to be cleaned every day, as once it arrives bacteria and plaque will start to cling to the tooth’s surface. Cleaning your little one’s teeth twice a day helps remove these bacteria and keep their mouth healthy and starts to get them used to the brushing routine. Don’t forget toothless gums will also need a gentle clean as well.

How should I brush my toddler’s teeth?

Children aren’t actually capable of brushing their own teeth effectively until they reach 6 years old, so it’s good to establish a healthy brushing routine as early as you can. When you’re starting out, try sitting them up on your lap and maybe singing a song to introduce an element of fun. Use a small headed, soft-bristled toothbrush and just a smear of toothpaste (think the size of a grain of rice).

How long should I brush my toddler’s teeth for?

You should aim to brush your little’s one’s teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. The key with toothbrushing is to make it fun and to show your little one that you (and any other members of your household) clean your teeth too.

Why do I need to help my toddler brush their teeth?

Establishing good brushing habits as part of your little one’s daily routine will ensure they have the best chance of continuing the habit as they get older, as well as keeping that smile healthy!

While little ones love to do things for themselves, they don’t actually have the co-ordination to brush their own teeth well enough until they are about around 6 years old. Dentists recommend that you should brush your child’s teeth until they at least 4 years old and then supervise brushing and toothpaste until they are 6 to 8 years old. One of the best things you can do is to set a good example: your child will learn about good oral hygiene just by watching you and the other members of your family brushing and flossing your own teeth. 

What do I do when my toddler chews their toothbrush?

if you find that your little one just wants to chew their brush, then it might be worth grabbing yourself a Chewable Toothbrush. You can smear a little toothpaste on the Chewable and let your toddler do some of the work! You can then go over your toddler’s teeth afterwards with a toothbrush and finish the job.

What do I do when my toddler refuses to let me brush their teeth? 

  • It’s not uncommon for your toddler to want to assert their independence, which can make brushing difficult. Don’t worry - this is perfectly normal and you’re not alone! Here are some things to try:
    Have two toothbrushes handy so you can give your toddler a choice. They will love the feeling of being in charge!
    Let your toddler see you and any other members of your household cleaning your teeth
  • let  your little one brush their favourite toy’s ‘teeth’ first or let them ‘help’ you to brush your teeth. Just be careful not to share toothbrushes with them.
  • Don’t forget to shower them with praise when brushing goes well
    Try making up a silly tooth brushing song or dance, or check out some of the funny videos online.
  • If your munchkin enjoys munching on their brush, try the Chewable Toothbrush - it's designed to help clean teeth and gums as it is chewed and also acts like a teether. Then you can go in and finish the job with a toothbrush afterwards.

How do I choose the right toothbrush?

There are lots of different toothbrushes on the market. The important thing to remember is that toddler toothbrushes need to have soft bristles that are gentle on little gums. Here’s a few options for you to consider:

  • Our FirstBrush has a small head and a long handle, to help you gently clean inside a little mouth. 
  • If your baby has quite a few teeth already then the FlossBrush is ideal - it has longer bristles so can clean in between teeth. 
  • You could also opt for an electric toothbrush - this has a few advantages over a manual and can sometimes persuade an unwilling baby that tooth brushing can be fun! The BabySonic has a small brush head for babies and a larger one for when they are older. It has a two minute timer, so you know exactly how long to brush for, along with a light so that you can check you’re getting to all your toddler’s teeth.

How often do I need to replace my toddler’s toothbrush?

It’s easy to forget to replace your family’s toothbrushes when there’s a million other things to do to keep a household running. However, it’s important to remember that toothbrushes can spread infection, so here are our golden rules for keeping those brushes at their best.

  • Replace your toddler’s toothbrush after they are ill with a cold, flu, a tummy bug or after any mouth infections (and yours if you are ill too!).
  • Don’t forget to keep an eye on your family’s toothbrushes and replace them when bristles start to fray, or least every 2 - 3 months.
  • Try to keep everyone’s toothbrushes in a clean, dry, airy place so that they can dry out between uses. Ideally the toothbrush heads shouldn’t touch each other. 

Why should I use an electric toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes can be a great option for a stubborn toddler as they can introduce some fun into the toothbrushing routine. Brush-Baby electric brushes have lights and a 2 minute timer, so you know exactly how long you have to brush for. Don’t forget to replace toothbrush heads when bristles start to fray, or least every 2 - 3 months. 

Can I share my toothbrush with my toddler?

If you’re letting your little one ‘help’ you to brush your teeth to beat the brushing battle, be careful not to actually share toothbrushes with each other, as toothbrushes can easily spread infection.

How do I choose the right toothpaste for my toddler?

Choosing the right toothpaste for your child’s baby teeth is mainly about choosing the right amount of fluoride in the toothpaste, but it’s also about experimenting with different flavours. Little taste buds can often find minty flavours quite strong. Fluoride is found naturally in food and water and the amount of fluoride differs depending on where you live. It helps to prevent tooth decay by hardening the enamel on the tooth’s surface. However, eating or drinking too much fluoride can cause permanent stains on the developing adult teeth, so it’s important to encourage your little one to spit out their toothpaste after brushing, instead of swallowing. Choose a toothpaste with no more than 1000 parts per million Fluoride until your little one turns 3.

How much toothpaste should I use?

Firstly, ensure that your little one’s toothpaste contains the right amount of fluoride for their age. You only need to use a tiny smear of toothpaste for your toddler, until they are 3 years old and then you can use a pea-sized amount. Remember to put the toothpaste on your toddler’s toothbrush yourself until your child can do it properly and as with all bathroom products, keep toothpaste tubes out of the reach of little hands.

What do I do if my toddler doesn’t like mint-flavoured toothpaste?

Minty flavours can actually be quite strong for little tastebuds, so it’s worth experimenting with different flavour toothpastes if your toddler isn’t keen. Our gentle Applemint toothpaste is often a big hit with small mouths.

What is the right level of fluoride in my child’s toothpaste?

Until your little one turns 3, you should be choosing toothpaste with no more than 1000 parts per million Fluoride and only using a smear of toothpaste on their toothbrush.

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Toddler Teething - signs, phases and remedies

What are the different phases of teething?

Some babies start teething as early as 3 months, but most will see their first tooth emerging between 6 and 9 months old. You will notice that baby teeth tend to pop up in cute little pairs – one on the right and one on the left. The lower two front teeth usually appear first, followed by the upper ones, forming the most adorable toothy grin! By their first birthday, your baby should have around 8 teeth. By the time they are 2&1/2 - 3 years old they will usually they will have all 20 baby teeth. Click here to see the table to show you when to expect different baby teeth.

Will molar teething be more painful for my toddler?

When the molars (back teeth) pop through, it can be especially uncomfortable because they are larger teeth. Don’t forget that the majority of pain during teething is generally due to inflammation and infection of the gum tissue – not the tooth! This can be caused by bacteria and food getting caught in tiny gum flaps around the tooth as it pops through.

What causes the teething pain that some children experience?

It’s actually a myth that teeth cut through gums as they emerge. When a new baby tooth pops up, special chemicals are released that cause the gums to separate and allow the tooth through. Food or bacteria can get stuck around new teeth popping up and this is what can cause inflammation and discomfort. Try to keep your little one’s gums and any teeth they have nice and clean by brushing twice a day, as a clean mouth can help to prevent teething pain. 

How can I soothe teething pain?

Your baby is unique, just like you, so it’s worth trying a few different teething remedies in order to find out what does the trick for them. Here are some tips to try:

  • Try to keep your little one’s gums and any teeth they have nice and clean - brush twice a day and use DentalWipes on gums. This will ensure no food or bacteria gets stuck around new teeth popping up (which can cause infection)
  • Try a bit of barrier cream on your baby’s chin and cheeks to prevent chaffing from all that dribble.
  • Teethers and wipes cooled in the fridge (never the freezer!) will be nice and soothing for your baby’s gums. Teething gels, creams or powder can numb sore gums, or for the really tough times you can also give your baby age-appropriate painkillers such as baby paracetamol or ibuprofen. Check with your Health Visitor or on the NHS website for how much you can give them. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/childrens-health/can-i-give-my-child-painkillers/
  • Distraction distraction distraction! Comforting or playing with your baby can help to distract them from discomfort and pain. Sing, dance, listen to music or go for a walk, but maybe not all the the same time!

What are teething blisters?

Sometimes baby teeth start to come through, a little bleeding may happen under the skin. This can cause a small blood blister or bruise to appear on your baby’s gum. No treatment is usually necessary as it will disappear when the tooth comes through. However, if your baby or toddler gets a teething blister and it lasts for more than a month without any sign of a new baby tooth, pop along to the dentist for a check-up.

What do I do if my toddler grinds their teeth or gums?

Some little ones rub their gums together or "grind their teeth" as their new baby teeth grow and start to emerge. Rubbing their gums or teeth together can relieve some of the discomfort caused by teething. It is also a little one’s way of feeling the changes that are occurring in his or her mouth, especially as the molars emerge. In general, teeth grinding when your little one is teething and they should stop when all their baby teeth have come through. As always, talk to your dentist if you are worried.

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Tooth-friendly snacks and drinks

What if my toddler drinks their milk from a bottle?

Try to avoid giving your toddler a bottle of formula, milk or fruit juice to go to sleep with or to suck on for a long time during the day, as all of these drinks contain sugars. Also, encourage your little one to slurp their nightly milk before you brush their teeth, as opposed to afterwards.

What is 'bottle tooth decay’?

It’s important to ensure your toddler is drinking particularly sugary drinks like fruit juice or milk from an open cup or sippy cup, so that they aren’t tempted to slurp them for a long period of time. You want to avoid sugary drinks spending a lot of time around little teeth if you can, as this can cause tooth decay.

What tooth-friendly snacks can I give my toddler?

If your toddler is hungry between meals, it can be tough to know what to give them that won’t harm their teeth, especially when they are teething and just want comfort food! Here are some great low or no-sugar ideas for your hungry munchkin to munch on:

  • Calcium-rich foods like yoghurt, milk and cheese. These are also essential for your little one to build strong teeth, nails and bones.
  • Make your own ice lolly by popping a stick into a no-added-sugar fromage frais and freezing it for an hour. A lovely soothing treat for sore gums!
  • Look out for low/no added sugar biscuits or try savoury low-salt crackers or rice cakes.
  • Raw fruit and veg like carrot, celery, cucumber and apple can help ease the irritation of sore gums, especially when chilled, and are also a great source of fibre.

Don’t forget if your toddler is unwell and you are giving them age-appropriate medicine, look out for the sugar-free option. Sugar will be listed on the ingredients and can also be referred to as glucose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, honey, hydrolyzed starch, or syrup.

What tooth-friendly drinks can I give my toddler?

  • Try to avoid sugary drinks altogether, but if you do allow them try to keep this to mealtimes
  • If your little one is a fan of fruit juice, try diluting it with water - they’ll never know!
  • Aim to swap out fruit juice or milk for water between meals - it’s free, hydrating, sugar-free and contains fluoride which will help strengthen your little one’s pearly whites

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Dummies and thumbsucking

My toddler has a dummy / sucks their thumb - should I be worried?

Lots of babies and toddlers like to suck a dummy or their thumb as it has a soothing effect, particularly when they are drifting off to sleep. Most kids will stop sucking their thumb naturally by about 4 years old - it’s only after this point that you might need to think about weaning them off, as it could effect their teeth. With a dummy, it’s important to try to wean your little one off earlier than that if you can.

How can I help my toddler stop using a dummy or sucking their thumb?

  • To start with, try just restricting thumb- or dummy-sucking to night time or nap times only. Then you can eventually work towards cutting down at these times too.
  • You could start a progress chart with stickers for every day they go without. Then reward your munchkin with a new toy or trip to their favourite place at the end of the week.
  • Keep track of when your child wants to suck their dummy or thumb - if they are tired, hungry or anxious, it’s worth try to find other ways to alleviate these or distract them at these times.
  • If you’re going away on holiday, you could use it as an opportunity to leave their dummy at home. You’ll have lots to distract your little one whilst you’re away and by the time you’re home they might have forgotten all about it!
  • You could try transitioning them to something else like a teddy or favourite soft toy for comfort
  • Try to remain patient and understanding - it’s a big transition for them after all.
  • Ask your dentist to explain to your little one that it’s time to stop and why they should - it’s amazing what a few words from an expert can do!

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Visiting the dentist

How often should I take my toddler to the dentist?

Dentists recommend taking your baby to the dentist before they turn 1, whether they’ve had any baby teeth come through or not. After that, you can take them as often as your dentist recommends. Click here for more information on the Dental Check by 1 campaign: https://dentalcheckbyone.co.uk 

During these visits your dentist will check your child's mouth and teeth and will diagnose any problems. Getting your child used to going to the Dentist will help them to feel relaxed and know that there’s nothing to fear. Your little one will probably love exploring a new place and being buzzed up and down in the Dentist’s chair!  You can expect the first appointment to be short and fairly informal, so try not to worry. Your NHS dental treatment in the UK is free while you are pregnant and for the first year after your baby is born. All you need to do is show your dentist your MatB1 certificate or NHS Prescription Maternity Exemption Certificate. To find an NHS dentist in your area, go www.bda-findadentist.org.uk, or ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647

What will happen at the dentist?

Depending on your baby’s age and how happy they are to say ‘Ah’, you may be asked to hold them while the Dentist takes a little look around their mouth to check for decay and look at their gums, jaw, and bite. The Dentist or the hygienist may clean your child’s teeth if they think it’s needed. They will talk to you about good oral hygiene habits and give you the chance to ask any questions you may have about toddler teething, thumb sucking or tooth-friendly foods. Scribble down any questions you have beforehand and take them to the appointment with you so you don’t forget.

What if my toddler is scared of the dentist?

It’s important to take your little one to the dentist as part of regular check-ups, not just when there is something wrong. Getting your child used to going to the dentist regularly will help them to feel relaxed when they visit in the future. Don’t forget to take your child to the dentist when you have a check-up too. This will help them get used to the sights, smells and sounds of the dental practice and to feel more comfortable about going to the dentist in general. If you are worried, try taking one of their favourite books or toys to make them feel more comfortable.

Are there any issues if my little one uses an inhaler for asthma?

Some children who suffer with asthma need to use an inhaler. However, many of the powders in puffers are acidic and can unfortunately erode tooth enamel. If your child uses an inhaler, it’s worth teaching them to rinse with water after using each use, to help prevent future problems with their teeth. Cleaning their teeth with suitable fluoride toothpaste will also help to protect their teeth because the fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. Don’t forget to tell your dentist if your child uses an inhaler and ensure you take them for regular check-ups.

What do I do if my child's baby teeth are injured?

Despite our best efforts as parents, children have a knack of finding ways to bump their heads, scape their knees and shut their fingers in things! Sometimes they can even find ways to chip a tooth, knock one out or drive a tooth back up into their gum. Here’s what to do if you ever face a tooth-related emergency:

  • Try not to panic! Whilst you’re comforting your little one, take a nice deep breath before you take action.
  • If their mouth is bleeding, stem the flow with a clean moist flannel.
  • If a baby tooth has been knocked out, don’t put it back into the socket as this could block the way for the adult tooth underneath. 
  • Call the dentist straightaway and make an emergency appointment - they will be able to assess what damage has been done and advise on the best treatment for your child.
  • Try not to feel guilty - some children are more accident-prone than others, but remember accidents can happen to any one of us!

My child has white chalk marks on its teeth, what should I do?

The first thing is to pop to the dentist for a check up. Your dentist will be able to identify whether these white marks are due to decay or something else. They can be due to the way the minerals in the tooth have been lain down as the tooth developed. As always, ensure you are brushing your little one’s teeth twice a day with age-appropriate fluoride toothpaste.

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Stage 3 - Kids - Grown-up Smiles

The transition from baby to adult teeth 

How do adult teeth develop?

Your child’s baby teeth will eventually become wobbly and to fall out to make way for their adult teeth to grow, This process can last 6 years or more! Baby teeth tend to fall out in the same order in which they came in and the process is not painful. Some kids lose their first tooth as early as 4 or as late as 7, but it's also possible for a child to reach 7 or 8 without losing any baby teeth at all! Generally, the younger your child was when their teeth arrived, the earlier they will tend to fall out. If they begin to lose teeth much earlier than the age of 4, pop along to the dentist to make sure there's no underlying issue. When your child does feel their first wobbly tooth, encourage them to gently wiggle the tooth but not to yank it before it’s ready to fall out on its own. Before you know it, the tooth fairy will become a regular visitor!

Why does my child lose all their baby teeth?

Baby teeth have to fall out to make way for adult teeth to grow, but it won’t happen overnight. You can expect this process to last 6 years or more!

Why do adult teeth look so big?

Your child’s new adult teeth may look bigger, especially the first few to arrive. That's because they are! Adult teeth also tend to be less white than baby teeth and have pronounced ridges because they haven't been used yet for biting and chewing. Occasionally, a couple of new teeth come in before the old ones have fallen out, creating two rows of pearly whites. This is a temporary stage, sometimes called shark's teeth. It’s nothing to worry about but don’t forget that brushing and flossing will be more important than ever during this phase.

Can tooth decay in my child’s baby teeth affect their adult teeth?

It can do. Decay in your little one’s baby teeth can cause abscesses that harm their permanent teeth developing inside their gums. In cases where children have a tooth extracted, they are more likely to develop orthodontic problems as the premature loss of primary teeth can affect the alignment of permanent teeth.

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Daily dental care for kids

How long do I need to supervise my child when they brush their teeth?

Your child won’t be able to brush their teeth on their own until they are 6, so you will need to help them until then. You should aim to brush their teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. Once they are brushing on their own, you should still supervise all your child’s toothbrushing until they are a bit older to make sure they are doing a good job. 

How do I get my child to brush for two minutes?

Two minutes can seem like a long time, we know! Why not set a countdown timer on your phone? Or play them a video on your phone or tablet that lasts for 2 minutes? It’s also worth checking out toothbrushing songs, videos or cartoons online as there are some great options around to keep them entertained.

What if my child refuses to brush their teeth?

Firstly, don’t worry! Kids like to assert their independence and sometimes they choose to do this at brushing time in particular. Here are some things to try:

  • Take your child shopping with you when you buy new toothbrushes and have them choose two, so you can give them a choice at brushing time. They will love the feeling of being in charge!
  • Try experimenting with different flavour toothpastes, like our Tutti Frutti flavour.
  • Try to time your morning routine so that your child brushes their teeth at the same time as other members of the household. It will make the world of difference to see the adults cleaning their teeth too!
  • Let your little one brush their favourite toy’s ‘teeth’ first or let them ‘help’ you to brush your teeth. Just be careful not to share toothbrushes with them.
  • Don’t forget to shower them with praise when brushing goes well. You could even keep a progress chart and reward them with a treat at the end of each week.

How much toothpaste should my child use?

Firstly, ensure that your little one’s toothpaste contains the right amount of fluoride for their age. For children between 3 and 6, just use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Remember to put the toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush yourself until they can do it properly themselves and as with all bathroom products, keep toothpaste tubes out of the reach of little hands.

What if my child is still using a dummy or sucking their thumb?

Lots of kids like to suck a dummy or their thumb when they are little as it has a soothing effect, particularly when they are drifting off to sleep. Most kids will stop sucking their thumb naturally by about 4 years old - it’s only after this point that you might need to think about weaning them off, as it could effect their teeth. With a dummy, it’s important to try to wean your little one off earlier than that if you can. Here are some tips to try:

  • To start with, try just restricting thumb- or dummy-sucking to night time or nap times only. Then you can eventually work towards cutting down at these times too.
  • You could start a progress chart with stickers for every day they go without. Then reward your child with a treat at the end of the week.
  • Keep track of when your child wants to suck their dummy or thumb - if they are tired, hungry or anxious, it’s worth try to find other ways to alleviate these or distract them at these times.
  • If you’re going away on holiday, you could use it as an opportunity to leave their dummy at home. You’ll have lots to distract your little one whilst you’re away and by the time you’re home they might have forgotten all about it!
  • You could try transitioning them to something else like a teddy or favourite soft toy for comfort instead.
  • Try to remain patient and understanding - it’s a big transition for them after all.
  • Ask your dentist to explain to your little one that it’s time to stop and why they should - it’s amazing what a few words from an expert can do!

What is Xylitol and how does it work?

 Xylitol is a toothache superhero that works wonders for our teeth. Every time you eat, the bacteria present in your mouth digest the sugars of your food to produce acids. These acids eat away at your tooth enamel, causing decay.

So how can we avoid this? Along with healthy dental care habits, Xylitol can help prevent decay-causing bacteria from producing the acids that rot teeth. This is because the bacteria are unable to digest Xylitol and so no nasty acid is produced. Not just that, but fluoride works better to repair and strengthen tooth enamel when Xylitol is present. Check out one of our Xylitol-enriched toothpastes to get some of this superhero substance into your little one’s mouth - it will also help them develop fewer cavities than using fluoride-only toothpaste.

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Visiting the dentist

How often should I take my child to the dentist?

Dentists recommend taking your child to the dentist regularly - ensure you check with your dentist on how often they recommend. During these visits your dentist will check your child's mouth and teeth and will diagnose any problems. Getting your child used to going to the Dentist will help them to feel relaxed and know that there’s nothing to fear.

What will happen at the dentist?

The dentist will take a look around your child's mouth to check for decay and look at their gums, jaw, and bite. The dentist or the hygienist may clean your child’s teeth if they think it’s needed. They will talk to you about good oral hygiene habits and give you the chance to ask any questions you may have about brushing, flossing, thumb-sucking or tooth-friendly foods. Scribble down any questions you have beforehand and take them to the appointment with you so you don’t forget.

What if my child is scared of the dentist?

It’s important to take your little one to the dentist as part of regular check-ups, not just when there is something wrong. Getting your child used to going to the dentist regularly will help them to feel relaxed when they visit in the future. Don’t forget to take your child to the dentist when you have a check-up too. This will help them get used to the sights, smells and sounds of the dental practice and to feel more comfortable about going to the dentist in general. If you are worried, try taking one of their favourite books or toys to make them feel more comfortable.

What if my little one uses an inhaler for asthma?

Some children who suffer with asthma need to use an inhaler. However, many of the powders in puffers are acidic and can unfortunately erode tooth enamel. If your child uses an inhaler, it’s worth teaching them to rinse with water after using each use, to help prevent future problems with their teeth. Cleaning their teeth with suitable fluoride toothpaste will also help to protect their teeth because the fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. Don’t forget to tell your dentist if your child uses an inhaler and ensure you take them for regular check-ups.

What do I do if my child's baby teeth are injured?

Despite our best efforts as parents, children have a knack of finding ways to bump their heads, scape their knees and shut their fingers in things! Sometimes they can even find ways to chip a tooth, knock one out or drive a tooth back up into their gum. Here’s what to do if you ever face a tooth-related emergency:

  • Try not to panic! Whilst you’re comforting your little one, take a nice deep breath before you take action.
  • If their mouth is bleeding, stem the flow with a clean moist flannel.
  • If a baby tooth has been knocked out, don’t put it back into the socket as this could block the way for the adult tooth underneath. 
  • Call the dentist straightaway and make an emergency appointment - they will be able to assess what damage has been done and advise on the best treatment for your child.
  • Try not to feel guilty - some children are more accident-prone than others, but remember accidents can happen to any one of us!

My child has white chalk marks on its teeth, what should I do?

The first thing is to pop to the dentist for a check up. Your dentist will be able to identify whether these white marks are due to decay or something else. They can be due to the way the minerals in the tooth have been lain down as the tooth developed. As always, ensure you are brushing your little one’s teeth twice a day with age-appropriate fluoride toothpaste.

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Choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste

How do I choose the right toothbrush?

There are lots of different toothbrushes on the market. The important thing to remember is that your child needs a toothbrush that will clean effectively deep down between their teeth. If your child has a mix of baby and adult teeth, or crooked teeth, then the FlossBrush is ideal - it has longer bristles so can clean in between teeth. You could also opt for an electric toothbrush like the KidzSonic or Go-Kidz toothbrush. They both have a two minute timer and 30 second pulse, so you know exactly how long you need to brush for.

How often do I need to replace my kid’s toothbrush?

It’s easy to forget to replace your family’s toothbrushes when there’s a million other things to do to keep a household running. However, it’s important to remember that toothbrushes can spread infection, so here are our golden rules for keeping those brushes at their best.

  • Replace your child’s toothbrush after they are ill with a cold, flu, a tummy bug or after any mouth infections (and yours if you are ill too!).
  • Don’t forget to keep an eye on your family’s toothbrushes and replace them when bristles start to fray, or least every 2 - 3 months.
  • Try to keep everyone’s toothbrushes in a clean, dry, airy place so that they can dry out between uses. Ideally the toothbrush heads shouldn’t touch each other.

Why should I use an electric toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes can be a great option to combat brushing battles, as they can introduce some fun into the toothbrushing routine. Brush-Baby electric brushes have lights and a two minute timer, so you know exactly how long you have to brush for. Don’t forget to replace toothbrush heads when bristles start to fray, or least every 2 - 3 months.

What do I do if my child doesn’t like mint flavour toothpaste?

Minty flavours can actually be quite strong for little tastebuds, so it’s worth experimenting with different flavour toothpastes if your child isn’t keen. Our Tutti Frutti toothpaste is often a big hit with small mouths.

What is the right level of fluoride in my child’s toothpaste?

Between the ages 3 and 6, you only need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to brush your little one’s teeth and their toothpaste should have 1000-1350 parts per million Fluoride. After the age of 6, continue using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste but choose a toothpaste with 1350-1500 parts per million Fluoride.

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Flossing

Why does my child need to floss?

The best way to keep your kid’s smile happy and healthy is to establish good oral care habits as early as you can. Alongside helping them to brush twice a day, you will need to floss their teeth to ensure a good clean deep down between their teeth. This is especially important if they have a mix of baby and adult teeth, or crooked teeth.

How do I encourage my child to floss?

Let your little one see you flossing every day - it's the best way to set a great example of healthy oral hygiene. To start off, invest in some flossettes or floss picks, and begin with your child’s front teeth. As your little one gets more used to their front teeth being flossed, you can then start to include the back teeth as well. If brushing is still a battle and flossing might be a step too far, the FlossBrush has specially designed 'flossing bristles' to help clean both the surface and in-between teeth.

 

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