Toothbrushing tips for tots

How to help keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy

Dr David Hills, dentist and founder of iNEEDa Dentist, shares his top tips for helping your children care for their pearly whites.

1 Go easy on the toothpaste
“Many of us allow our children to lather their brush with liberal amounts of toothpaste. This should be avoided (especially for children aged six and under) and a good rule of thumb is to limit the quantity to a pea-sized amount only.”

2 Use an age-appropriate toothbrush
“Size varies widely among brushes and there are many that are just too large for children’s mouths. Smaller brush heads are better as, not only do they reach further, but they are more comfortable for your child to use.”

3 Never share brushes
“It is not commonly known that the bacteria that causes tooth decay is often transmitted to a child from their mother. Tooth decay is a disease caused by bacteria and the transmission of bacteria can occur through the sharing of food or toothbrushes.”

4 Help your kids to brush their teeth
“It’s fine to let your child have a go at brushing their teeth but remember you should always help them with the job. Children do not develop the fine motor skills necessary to brush adequately until around the age of eight or nine.”

5 Spit, don’t rinse
“I always tell my patients to spit their toothpaste out but to try not to rinse. This practice ensures that a very small amount of the fluoride paste stays in contact with the teeth which works to harden the teeth’s surface.”

Dr David Hills is a dentist and the founder of iNEEDa Dentist, a comparison website that connects Australians with their ideal dentists.