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It’s never too early to kick-start your little one’s oral hygiene routine, so here’s our guide to tantrum-free tooth brushing

Your baby’s first smile is an important milestone, and so is their first tooth. But you need to remember that they won’t stay pearly white for long unless you set up good habits to keep them that way. Here’s how to get toddlers and preschoolers engaged from an early age.

Start small

From the moment the first tooth emerges – or ‘erupts’ as dentists say – you need to start taking care of it using an appropriate brush and toothpaste. As soon as they’re old enough, coax them to play an active role in their tooth brushing, reminding them not only about the tooth fairy but also how lovely it will be to have a bright smile, even when they’re a grown-up.

Baby teeth

Even though they’ll eventually fall out, baby teeth play an essential role in helping your child bite and chew food and speak clearly. Baby teeth also save space for grown-up teeth and help guide them into place so it’s vital you look after them.

Squeaky clean

By the time your baby reaches one it’s a good idea to start taking them to the dentist regularly and at home it’s essential to keep your toddler’s first teeth clean and healthy. Here are some tips to help keep those teeth gleaming:

  • Brush you child’s teeth twice a day – after breakfast and before bed – using a toothpaste that contains fluroid
  • You only need a small dab of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice
  • You can let your little one brush their own teeth – this is a great way to keep them engaged. Always brush your child’s teeth a second time yourself – most children won’t be able to properly brush their own teeth until they’re eight
  • During the day, try to limit the number of times you let your child drink soft sugary drinks (including fruit juice), eat sweets and sticky snacks

Make it fun

It’s recommended that you should brush your teeth for two minutes to keep them healthy – but those two minutes can feel long and boring to a toddler. Why not introduce a teeth-brushing song? Or make up a new story each evening about the tooth fairy, or the small army of brushers who look after shark teeth? If your little one is learning their numbers you can count their teeth as you go. Don’t forget to make silly faces in the bathroom mirror afterwards.