Toothbrushing (Babies)

Key health professionals for delivering this care:
  • Midwives
  • Health visitors
  • Nursery nurses
Key Messages:
  • Start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they start to come through
  • Brushing removes plaque, a white sticky film containing bacteria which covers the teeth and gums.   Brushing away the plaque keeps teeth and gums healthy
  • Use a baby toothbrush with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay (holes)
  • Check the ingredients on the toothpaste packaging to make sure it contains no less than 1000 ppm fluoride.  Use a toothpaste containing 1350-1500ppm fluoride for maximum prevention.  Most ‘own brand’ supermarket toothpastes are suitable and more affordable
  • Don't worry if you don't manage to brush much at first. The important thing is to get your baby used to brushing their teeth as part of their daily routine. You can help by setting a good example and letting them see you brushing your own teeth
  • Brush all the surfaces of the teeth and gumline in small circles for around 2 minutes, just before bedtime and at another time that fits in with your routine
  • The easiest way to brush a baby's teeth is to sit them on your knee, with their head resting against your chest
  • Encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out afterwards. There's no need to rinse with water.  Rinsing washes away the fluoride so it can’t do its job
  • Always supervise toothbrushing to make sure your child only has a smear of toothpaste on their brush, and they're not eating or licking toothpaste from the tube
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