Top teeth tips for kids under 5

A positive rising trend is that more parents are encouraging their kids to adopt good oral health habits from a young age.

This helps to prevent decay later on in life and establishes a positive relationship with dental health. Did you know that baby teeth are important? They help form the early eating and speaking skills. Looking after teeth at an early age is also important because decay can get worse really quickly in children’s teeth. When this happens, your child may need to go to hospital to have their teeth treated under general anaesthetic. I have put together some tips for looking after your little one’s teeth. They are quick and easy to read, so I hope you find them helpful. At Riverstone Family Dental we are a family-based practice and see families with kids of all ages. Every child is unique and it is important to tailor the way we deliver this oral health information for every child.

What causes tooth decay?

  • Germs in the mouth feed on sugary foods and drinks can cause tooth decay, this can lead to pain and infection
  • Putting a baby to bed with a bottle with something sweet in it like juice, milk or formula, soft drink or cordial
  • Eating sugary, sticky foods like cakes, biscuits, pastries, lollies and chocolate between meals
  • Drinking sugary drinks like fruit juice, cordials and soft drinks between meals
  • Not brushing your teeth twice a day

How to brush

  • Brush the outsides of the teeth using small circles, brushing from one side of the mouth to the other, cleaning all teeth
  • Brush the inside of every tooth, making sure you brush to the gums
  • Gently scrub the chewing surfaces of all the top and bottom teeth reaching back to the last tooth
  • Help your child with brushing until they are 8 years old

Snack smart

  • Sometimes foods to be eaten during mealtimes are sugary foods and drink:
    • any form of milk
    • fruit juice
    • flavoured yoghurt
    • icecream
    • lollies – especially the sticky types
    • soft drinks – which can have up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per cup
    • chocolate
    • cordial
  • Best between meals:
    • Tap water
    • Vegetable sticks
    • Cheese
    • Unflavoured yoghurt

TIP: chewy food cravings – offer a slice of cheddar cheese to help stimulate saliva production

Tips for Under 18 Months

  • Start brushing as soon as the first teeth appear is is usually around 6 months
  • Brush morning and night
  • Use a child sized toothbrush and no toothpaste
  • Try and wean off bottle feeding at 12 months
  • Introduce a cup from 6 months

Tips for 18 months and over

  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a small pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
    • there are children’s toothpastes with half the amount of fluoride in them compared to standard toothpastes
    • look for toothpaste that has “Milk Teeth” on it or “Suitable for ages 2-5”
  • Brush morning and night
  • Children should spit out and not swallow the toothpaste
  • Do not rinse after brushing
  • lift your child’s lip once a week and check for holes or black/brown spots

Final tips for parents

  • Help your children to brush their teeth until they are 8 years old
  • Be a role model for your child – brush your teeth and snack smart so they can do the same
  • Provide healthy snacks every day
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks to meal times only
  • Schedule a dental visit before your child starts school and maintain your visits every 6 months
  • Ensure they feel positive about going to the dentist!


At Riverstone Family Dental we see kids as young as 2 years old for checkups. The key is to make this visit as fun and friendly as possible and tackle any oral health and diet issues early on in life.

Call us on 8678 3538 and book a consultation today.


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