Good oral health is essential for milk teeth and adult teeth; the first adult tooth usually erupts between 5 and 6 years old. Milk teeth play an important role in saving the space for adult teeth to erupt in the correct position.

Dental check-ups by the age of one are being promoted by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry

By early years children should be visiting the dentist regularly.

Visit Devon Doctors to help find a local NHS dentist. 

This is especially true in Torbay where results from the 5-year-old dental survey indicate higher than average decay rates. 

See the Dental Caries in children and young people - an overview of Torbay report

Tooth brushing and toothpaste

Tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste is essential to keep teeth and gums healthy and 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 suitable toothbrush:
  • A manual toothbrush should have a small head with soft/medium bristles.
  • A rechargeable electric toothbrush with a small round oscillating head (battery brushes are not as effective).
  • Keep an electric toothbrush fully charged.
  • Toothbrushes/heads 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).
  • A pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350 to 1,500ppm fluoride is the most effective. (see image below)
  • After brushing spit out excess toothpaste. Do not rinse your mouth with water or use mouthwash after brushing.
  • Children need to be helped with tooth brushing until they can brush effectively (this is about the age of 7)