It’s never too early to start looking after a baby’s oral health, healthy habits developed at this age can last a lifetime.

Parents should be encouraged to register the child with a dentist as soon as possible. Dental check-ups by the age of one are being promoted by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.

Visit Devon Doctors to help find a local NHS dentist.

Tooth brushing and toothpaste

Tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste once the first tooth appears is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay.

  • Always brush twice a day, before bedtime and at one other time in the day (for most people this is at breakfast time).
  • Choose a toothbrush with a small head with soft/medium bristles.
  • Toothbrushes should be changed every 3 months or sooner if the bristles are splayed. They should also be replaced after illness (e.g. colds and viruses).
  • After use toothbrushes should be well rinsed and left to dry naturally (away from toilet facilities).
  • Use a smear of toothpaste containing at least 1,000ppm fluoride (see image below)
  • After brushing do not rinse mouth, children should be taught to spit out excess toothpaste and not rinse with water or mouthwash.
  • Teeth should be brushed by an adult