1. Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Use a pea sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste from 18 months to six years of age.
- From six years of age, use a pea sized amount of standard fluoride toothpaste (unless otherwise advised by an oral health professional).
- Encourage your child to spit out toothpaste after brushing, but not rinse.
2. Brush teeth and along the gum line twice a day
- Brushing teeth removes plaque (the build-up on teeth) that causes tooth decay.
- Brush all surfaces of the teeth and gums twice a day (after breakfast and before bed).
- Brush in small circles along the gum line.
- Choose a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles.
- Always brush in a circular motion, cleaning a few teeth at a time.
- Children will need an adult to help them brush their teeth until about 7 or 8 years of age. It is a good idea for an adult to supervise even after children can physically brush their own teeth.
3. Drink plenty of tap water
- Water should be the main drink and children should drink plenty of tap water throughout the day.
- Most of Shepparton’s tap water supply has fluoride in it. Fluoride protects teeth from decay.
- Remember that bottled water from a shop may not have fluoride in it.
4. Children do not need fruit juice or other sweet drinks
- Fruit juice and sweet drinks can cause tooth decay.
- Fruit juice with ‘no added sugar’ contains natural sugar which can also cause tooth decay.
- Sweet drinks include: soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks, cordials, tea drinks, fruit drinks and energy drinks.
- Diet soft drinks contain acids which can also damage teeth.
5. Limit sugary foods
- Limit foods high in added sugars. Eating foods with high levels of sugar causes tooth decay.
- Try to avoid sugary foods and snacks in your child’s lunchbox.
- Foods high in added sugars include jams, lollies, biscuits, cakes, sweet muffins, doughnuts, slices, sweet pastries, chocolate and muesli bars.
6. Healthy meals and snacks are important for healthy teeth
- Enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods from the five groups every day.
- Fruits and vegetables are an important part of healthy eating.
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese (and their alternatives) are an excellent source of calcium.
- Many common foods and snacks have sugar in them. Eating foods with high levels of sugar causes tooth decay.
7. Wear a mouth-guard during contact sports or activities where there is a risk of injury to the face
- Custom fitted mouth guards provide the best protection.
- Take the mouth guard to your dental visits to check it still fits well.
- A mouth guard may need to be replaced as changes occur in the mouth, such as when the permanent teeth come through.