Brushing Up

Like adults, young children can develop bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay if their teeth and gums are not properly cared for. Start them young and set a good example. Play dentist and teeth cleaning games to cultivate the habit of teeth-brushing at an early age.


Start cleaning your baby’s gums daily even before the first tooth erupts. Wet a clean handkerchief or washcloth, wrap it around your finger and gently rub the gums. By age 7 months, your baby may have cut his first tooth. You may now introduce him to a soft bristled infant toothbrush. Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Beware of children’s toothpaste as many brands contain sugar.


Brush his teeth for as long as he allows you. He will probably want to brush his teeth himself when he reaches two years. Teach him by standing behind him in front of a mirror. Then show him the correct movements by holding his hands as you brush. Ensure that he does not swallow the tooth paste. Let him rinse and spit out. The fun element here will make him cultivate the teeth brushing habit more readily.


  • Top teeth – Brush the teeth downwards and away from the gums. Ensure the brush gets right to the back of your child’s mouth.
  • Bottom teeth – Brush the teeth upwards and away from the gums. Ensure the brush gets right to the back of your child’s mouth.
  • Biting surfaces – Brush to and fro along the flat tops of the teeth all around the mouth.
  • Gums – Brush top and bottom gums with a circular motion. Make sure both outside and inside of the gums are covered.
  • Brush your baby’s teeth daily, preferably after breakfast and before bed.
  • Take him to his first dentist visit at 12 months old. By the time he is 2 and a half, he should have regular dental check-ups every six months.
  • Limit snacks between meals to 3 to 4 times daily. Avoid sweets, candies and sugary beverages.
  • Avoid putting him to bed with a bottle.
  • Set a good example by letting him watch you brush and floss.

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