By the age of 3 years old, your toddler will have 20 teeth. These are deciduous teeth, also known as baby teeth, primary teeth or milk teeth. These teeth are very important and will help your child to eat and to speak. 

The deciduous teeth also play a role in holding the space for the adult teeth which are already forming in the jaw. Taking care of the deciduous teeth will help your child to develop positive oral health behaviours, which should follow them to adulthood

  • Use an age appropriate tooth brush
  • For children aged 3 years and over use a pea size amount of paste 
  • Use a children’s or family toothpaste containing no less than 1000 parts per million of fluoride (please check the label)
  • Encourage your toddler to spit out the bubbles from tooth brushing and not to rinse their mouth with water. This helps the fluoride in the toothpaste to protect the teeth for longer
  • Brush teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day; last thing at night and on one other occasion (usually in the morning). This will help to develop a routine
  • Supervise your child brushing their teeth. Let them have a go at holding the brush and positioning it in the mouth, as this will help develop the dexterity needed to brush effectively
  • Remember toothpaste is a medicine and should be stored out of your child’s reach
  • Bottle use should be stopped by the age of one and a free flow cup used
  • Prolonged dummy use will change the way the teeth grow and restrict tongue movement which is essential for speech development. It's recommended to discontinue dummy use between 6-12 months
  • Don't put your child to bed with a bottle or any drink, other than plain water, as this can cause tooth decay
  • Plain milk or water are the only drinks which will not cause tooth decay
  • Keep sweet treats to mealtimes only
  • Take your child to the dentist as often as the dentist recommends (at least once a year)