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14 August 2014

Children’s teeth

Children also require regular teeth cleaning routines to develop healthy and strong teeth. Let your children learn good oral dental and oral hygiene by practicing it yourself regularly and showing them how. Here are tips to help your kids be tooth decay free.


  • As soon as your baby’s first milk tooth breaks out, start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste containing 1,000 ppm (parts per million) fluoride. Use a baby toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.


  • Children aged three and below require only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste containing 1,000 ppm of fluoride, while children aged three to six require 1,350-1,500 ppm of fluoride. Check the toothpaste packaging for this information. Anything less won’t be as effective in preventing tooth decay. Young children in particular, are vulnerable to tooth decay especially if they have the habit of eating too much sweets and not brushing their teeth regularly.


  • Children aged seven and above require a minimum of 1,500 ppm of fluoride.


  • Same as with adults, brush your child’s teeth for two minutes twice a day—once in the morning, and once in the evening before going to bed.


  • Never allow your children to eat or lick toothpaste from the tube to avoid spreading infections and bacteria.


  • Supervise your child’s tooth brushing until they’re seven to eight years old. Do this either by brushing their teeth yourself or by watching if they’re doing it properly. If they made a mistake, correct them by showing them the proper way.


  • Encourage your child to spit out excess toothpaste instead of rinsing with lots of water. This will prolong efficacy of the fluoride toothpaste.


  • At the age of seven or eight, when they’re more likely to become independent to brush their teeth on their own, teach them the importance of regular tooth brushing. Even if they can already do it on their own, it’s still a good idea to check up on their teeth brushing routine from time to time.

How can I make sure my child brushes their teeth properly?

Teeth brushing time doesn’t have to be a struggle with your child. It’s important to be there to guide them how to do it right and instil in them the benefits of brushing their teeth regularly at an early age.


  • Show your child how to properly brush their teeth by doing it first on yourself. Start with the both of you facing a mirror. This would help your child see the movements better and which direction the brush goes.


  • Guide your child’s hand to hold the toothbrush at the right angle and to feel the correct movements and direction.


  • Use a timer and set it for two minutes so your child will eventually get the hang of brushing their teeth at the right amount of time.


  • Make teeth brushing time fun and comfortable for your child by doing it together. That way, you can also supervise your child’s teeth brushing. You can also get them a toothbrush in the colour or design that they like so they’ll be motivated to use it.


  • If things don’t go right the first few times, remember not to lose your cool and to be more patient since you’re dealing with a child. But make sure to be clear and firm with your instructions so your child will take dental hygiene seriously.


  • Once your child does it right on their own, praise them for a job well done and encourage them to continue and make teeth brushing a habit.

Taking your child to the dentist

Visits to the dentist are a nightmare for most kids, but there are things you can do to make it less of a nightmare and more of a positive experience for your child.


  • When your child’s first milk teeth appear, bring your child to the dentist. This can help them familiarize with the environment and build a rapport with your dentist. The earlier you bring your child to the dentist, the easier it is to identify problems if any and apply solutions.


  • Whenever you need to go to the dentist, take your child with you. Again, this helps your child become familiar with the environment of a dental clinic and the people working there.


  • Whenever you visit the dentist, make it a fun and comfortable experience for your child. Bring along a favourite book or toy so your child won’t get too bored or anxious while waiting.


  • Calm your child’s fears by holding their hand and staying by their side as the dentist examines their teeth. Assure them the dentist is there to check on their teeth and help it become strong and healthy.

Fissure sealants and fluoride varnish

Once your child’s permanent teeth are in place, generally at the age of six to seven, fissure sealants can be done to protect their teeth from decay. Fissure sealants consist of a special thin plastic coating that covers that chewing surfaces of the back teeth to keep food particles and bacteria out of the grooves.

Fluoride varnish is applied to strengthen the tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay. It involves applying varnish containing high concentrations of fluoride to the surface of the tooth and is done every six months. Fluoride varnish can be applied to both baby and permanent adult teeth.

For more information, ask your dentist about fissure sealants and fluoride varnish.

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