Brushing and flossing
It is recommended everyone brush their teeth twice a day, ideally in the morning and then at night as the last thing that is done before bed with no food or drinks after. This brushes away the plaque and bacteria from the teeth to help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing should go for 2 minutes each time. This can be made more fun by playing a song or using a phone app that has a 2-minute timer to ensure the correct length of brushing and provide positive reinforcement.
Toothbrush and low-fluoride toothpaste
Look to use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles. Powered toothbrushes can be introduced from 3 years of age. Some powered toothbrushes come with an in-built 2-minute timer to make brushing for the recommended amount of time easy.
Until 6 years of age, children are recommended to use low-fluoride toothpaste for brushing teeth. At the shops, this is called children's toothpaste. As the name suggests, low-fluoride toothpaste contains less fluoride compared to the fluoride toothpaste created and recommended for adults and children older than 6 years of age.
Flossing and interdental cleaning
Flossing is recommended for children once they have at least two teeth touching side-by-side. This cleans the surfaces between the teeth that the toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Your dentist can show you and your children techniques and items that can make this process easier. Some children naturally have larger spaces between their teeth which means flossing may not be needed between all of the teeth. Flossettes can be useful for parents cleaning between their child's teeth or for children to use themselves.
Children should be helped by their parents when brushing teeth twice a day and flossing until around the age of 8 or 9. At this age, their physical dexterity is more developed. This means they can hold and control their toothbrush or floss better for good dental care. A good reference for this time is when your child starts using a pen at school instead of a pencil.