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PREVENTION – Published on the 18/03/2022

Oral hygiene is a set of practices aimed at removing the dental plaque that naturally, and constantly, forms on the surface of teeth during meals. If plaque is not removed, the bacteria within it may result in gum disease and/or contribute to the development of tooth decay.

Why should you brush your child's teeth?


To ensure that your child has good, healthy teeth, it is important to make tooth-brushing a part of a child’s daily routine from a very young age.

Your child can run the risk of tooth decay as soon as the first tooth comes through. It is therefore important to take care of milk teeth as their good health conditions the health of the later permanent teeth.

Brushing: when to start?


Various methods apply to different ages, but there is no escaping the need to brush teeth.


From 6 months to 1 year:

Simply apply a wet compress over the baby’s tooth/teeth. During this period, when teething may be painful, gum massages or refrigerated teething rings may help to relieve pain in your baby’s gums.


From 1 to 3 years:

It is your job as a parent to brush your child’s teeth.

Before the age of 2, it is advised that you brush your child’s teeth in the evening, without using toothpaste, as your child will tend to swallow it.

Children this age do not yet know how to spit out properly. You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day from the age of 2: once in the morning and once in the evening before going to bed.


From 4 years:

Your child is growing and is becoming more independent. He/she should now be able to brush his/her own teeth under your supervision.

You must show your child the right way to brush, going back and forth at least five times at the top and another five at the bottom. You must also teach your child how to rinse and spit without swallowing.

The time taken to brush teeth should be done as ritual play so that the child accepts it more readily.


From 6 years:

Your child now knows the basic brushing techniques.

You must now teach him/her how to brush the inner side of the teeth and how to alternate with a bottom-to-top movement in order to remove all deposits that may remain, including in the gaps between teeth.


From 10 years onward:

Your child is proficient in brushing and flossing.


When is brushing considered effective?


For brushing to be considered effective, there are a few simple rules to follow.


  • The toothbrush should be appropriate for the child’s age and must be soft and suited to your child’s mouth (brush with a small head, with an easy-to-hold handle).


  • The toothpaste used must be appropriate for the child’s age. As the fluoride content differs according to the toothpaste, it must be age-appropriate. Toothpaste can also be flavored to be more attractive.


Before the age of 3, a dose lower or equal to 500ppm is recommended, from 3 to 6 years between 500 and 1000ppm, from 6 to 10 years between 1000 and 1500ppm and a dose greater than 1500ppm from the age of ten.



  • Children should ideally brush their teeth for 2 minutes.


  • Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 months, otherwise they may not be as effective.



A preventive method: dental sealants

Food deposits tend to stick in the recesses in the upper side of molars, and even the thin fibers of a toothbrush cannot dislodge them. As 80% of dental caries develop in these recesses, this technique is used to protect the fissures in teeth, and therefore to prevent tooth decay.


Dental sealants are recommended once the four permanent molars have come through, i.e. around the age of 6 and then around the age of 12, when the second permanent molars appear.

This quick and painless procedure involves sealing the fissures in the permanent molars with a protective resin in order to prevent tooth decay. Even if dental sealants stay in place for several years, a dental check-up is necessary every one to two years.



Flossing should start around the age of 2 to 3. Before this age, flossing is not needed. Children often need some assistance and guidance with flossing until they reach the ages of 8 to 10.


The importance of flossing

Most dental plaque is removed by correctly brushing teeth but not in areas inaccessible to the toothbrush (in between teeth and under the gums). Flossing helps also controlling bad breath. Your child should floss at least once a day for 2 to 3 minutes each time to be most effective.


Types of dental floss

Choosing an adequate dental floss is as important as choosing a good tooth brush. There are many types: waxed/unwaxed, flavored/unflavored etc…


Flossing methods

Spool method (also called the finger-wrap method)

  1. Cut off a piece of floss about 45cm long.
  2. Lightly wrap each side of the piece of floss several times around each middle finger.
  3. Carefully move the floss in between the teeth with your index fingers and thumbs in an up and down, not side-to-side, motion.
  4. Bring the floss up and down while bending it on the side of each tooth and making sure to go below the gum line.


Loop method (also called the circle method)

  1. Cut off a piece of floss that is about 45cm long.
  2. Tie the ends to form a loop: By placing all of your fingers except the thumbs within the loop, you are able to guide the floss using index fingers and the thumbs.
  3. For the lower teeth use the index fingers and for the upper teeth the thumbs.


With both of these methods, it is important to floss gently ensuring that you do not cut the gums.


Other flossing methods

  • Flossing tools are also available, such as a pre-threaded flosser or floss holder. These may be helpful for people who are just learning how to floss, for children with limited dexterity or even for parents flossing their child's teeth.
  • Oral irrigators may help clean areas where a toothbrush cannot reach but they do not remove plaque and cannot replace brushing and flossing.

A few tips for a dazzling smile


  •  An annual dental check-up or more regular consultations depending on the risk of tooth decay, from the age of one;
  • A varied, balanced diet;
  • Avoid snacking between meals and sweet foods;
  • Prefer water to any other drink.
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