That teething period your child goes through might be every parent’s worst nightmare – but despite all that fussing and crying, we rejoice when our baby’s first teeth starts showing up. That’s just the beginning of a lifelong relationship with their teeth, so it makes sense that we do everything to help them protect and maintain their teeth with good oral health habits.

1. Start early

You can begin inculcating good oral habits before you even spot that first pearlie white on your baby. You can use a wet cloth to rub gently on your baby’s gums. This helps remove any milk remnants that could cause bacteria build-up and also start your child on something that will become a part of his everyday routine for life. For children under two, you can use a teeny bit of fluoride free kids toothpaste the size of a grain of rice.

Try: All Natural Kids Toothpaste (3 months and up, fluoride-free)

2. Brush before bedtime

Brushing your child’s teeth should always be the last thing they do for the day. This means no more food or drinks – not even milk – make sure your child has her/his bottle feeding before brushing, if she or he still needs it. If your child has been falling asleep with the bottle in bed, try to wean them off the habit with a consistent bedtime routine that doesn’t involve that, or fill the bottle with water only instead of any drink that contains sugar (yes, milk contains sugar too!).

Try: BrushCare Enamel Protect Kids Toothbrush Triple Pack (2 years and up)

Try: BrushCare Kids Toothbrush (3 years and up)

3. Use fluoride toothpaste

Once your child turns two years old, you can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is important to your child’s dental health because it reduces cavities, hardens tooth enamel and re-mineralises teeth, everything your child needs to develop a healthy set of teeth.

Try: Enamel Safe Kids Fluoride Toothpaste (2 years and up, with 1000ppm fluoride)

4. But not too much

It might seem ironic that less is more when it comes to using fluoride toothpaste – ingesting too much fluoride for children up to 8 years old (when you swallow fluoride toothpaste, for example) can lead to fluorosis, a condition that makes teeth look discoloured and stained. Remember, PEA-sized amount and SPIT it out. Pea & spit. Not exactly glamourous to the ear, but you’ll be sure to remember it! Although not recommended, if you want your kid to avoid fluoride completely (or she/he has a fluoride-allergy), try a fluoride-free toothpaste instead.

Try: All Natural Kids Toothpaste (3 months and up, fluoride-free)

5. Avoid eating too much sugar

While the moral of the story in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” teaches children not to be greedy, there are plenty more reasons why sugary foods and drinks are a big no-no in your child’s diet. Not only do they work against their general well-being, setting them on the path towards the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems; it also does big damage to their teeth. Anything with sugar in it – including juices, gummy vitamins, even liquid medicine in the form of syrups – can erode enamel and lead to a mouthful of cavities. They’re okay occasionally as treats, but rinsing and/or brushing immediately after should be made an accompanying habit too. Make brushing fun with oral care products made to appeal to kids.


6. Eat more teeth-strengthening foods

Thankfully, Mother Nature has provided a wide array of natural foods that actually help you boost your child’s oral health. Good ol’ veggies like carrots, cauliflower and celery, that give a crunch and a chew, actually help clean your child’s teeth while they’re eating. They naturally scrape away the plaque that builds up in between meals. They make the perfect afternoon snacks that are also super beneficial to your child’s body! Push back against Gingivitis, which leads to gum disease with an increased intake of Vitamin C which helps kill these bacteria. Kiwis, strawberries, melons, papaya and oranges all naturally come with a healthy dose of Vitamin C to keep bacteria at bay. Just a word of caution on citric fruits – wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush as citric acid can weaken tooth enamel temporarily and you don’t want to brush it away!

7. Kick the bad habits

Some bad habits even from birth can possibly harm your child’s dental health. For example, by the age of 2 or so, they should be weaned off the pacifier because it can be detrimental to how their teeth and mouth shape up in the long run. For the same reason, sucking on thumbs or fingers should also be largely discouraged. Nail biting and grinding of teeth at night can lead to fractures and chipping. If you find your child grinding their teeth at night, you can try a mouth guard. If you worry it’s something more serious, such as with their airway then you may want to seek professional advice.

For the best in oral healthcare for your children, Pearlie White has a special collection just for your little ones. From toothbrushes to toothpastes designed and formulated for young ones, you can rest assured that your child’s dental health is in good hands!