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How Can I Get My Child to Adopt Good Brushing Habits?

The foundations of a healthy mouth in adulthood are laid in the early years of life. Teaching children about good oral care habits and getting them started early, is one of the most important things you can do.

Little girl smiling with the GUM KIDS toothbrush and GUM Jungle Buddies

Here are a few tips to help your child brush properly and consistently:

The yellow GUM Jungle Buddy remembers the oral routine and the good brushing habits

1. START EARLY, BUILD A ROUTINE AND STICK TO IT

Brushing twice a day as soon as your little one’s milk teeth appear is the first step towards building good toothbrushing habits. Remember the sooner you start and the more regular you are, the easier it will be. You want brushing to become second nature, so resist making exceptions like after long day or when on holiday.

The green GUM Jungle Buddy singing and having fun

2. HAVE SOME FUN

Turn toothbrushing into a fun moment sing a fun song or use characters and stories to inspire your child. Get to know our jungle buddies and read about their brushing adventures.

The blue GUM Jungle Buddy teaching about gum's health

3. TEACH WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT

Kids love to ask ‘why’? Explain why brushing teeth every day is important. Let them know how it prevents bacteria from accumulating on teeth, form plaque and cause cavities. You can use our GUM® RED-COTE® * tablets to show your child how much plaque can accumulate on teeth in one day! 

GUM Jungle Buddies smiling and holding a strawberry

4. REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOUR

Recognise your child’s effort a simple ‘I’m so proud of you”, a high five, a sticker or a special story before going to bed, will all go a long way. 

GUM Jungle Buddy with bright smile

5. LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Your little one will learn from you, so set a good example. Show how you brush every day or even better, brush together!

The blue GUM Jungle Buddy with GUM Children toothbrushes

6. SHOP TOGETHER

Let your child participate in the shopping and pick his/her toothbrush.

*Please consult with your dentist to ensure appropriate use of this product. 

When should I START BRUSHING my child’s teeth? 

It’s important to start brushing milk teeth as soon as they appear. Regardless of age, your child's teeth need brushing twice a day in the morning and before bed. During the night, due to inactivity and low salivary flow, bacteria are undisturbed and able to grow freely. Babies, toddlers and juniors should use an age-appropriate brush and toothpaste.

How can I PREVENT CAVITIES

Cavities occur when food (especially sugar) and bacteria are not brushed away after eating or drinking, allowing bacteria to form plaque and accumulate. Bacteria break down sugar and convert it into energy and acid which softens enamel until a hole (cavity) forms. The enamel on children's teeth is softer and thinner than on adult teeth, making children's teeth more susceptible to cavities. 

Cavities are preventable. Here are a are a few tips to keep them away:

 

GUM Children Toothbrushes with V sign

1. ADOPT GOOD ORAL HABITS EARLY

Teach your child to brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes and start as soon as their first teeth appear. 

Strong teeth illustrations with a toothbrush with toothpaste

2. PROTECT YOUR CHILD’S ENAMEL WITH FLUORIDE

Regular use of fluoride toughens enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate and cause tooth decay. Start using fluoride toothpaste when your child understands it should be spit out and not swallowed, but no later than age 3. Check with your dentist when is the best time to start. Most toothpastes contain fluoride, but be cautious too much fluoride can cause tooth discolouration. 

Sugary foods such as: a candy, a muffin and a strawberry drink

3. LIMIT OR AVOID SUGARY FOODS

Bacteria love sugary foods, drinks, juices and candy. Have your children rinse their mouth or brush their teeth after eating these foods. Do not allow a bottle containing milk or sweetened liquids to remain in your child’s mouth after they have fallen asleep. Do not dip your child’s dummy in any sweetened substances. Choose sugar-free medicines.

Thumbs-up and dentist illustration

4. START VISITS TO YOUR ORAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL

By your child’s first birthday. Bring them along to your own dental check-up so they can get used to the environment of the dental practice. 

Adult and child smiling mouths

5. KEEP GOOD ORAL HEALTH HABITS YOURSELF

Bacteria that causes dental decay can be passed on to babies by adults, through food tasting and/or through cleaning a dummy or treat with a mouth[1], so it is important that parents/caregivers maintain good oral health too.

When should my child START GOING TO THE DENTIST?

Experts recommend you start taking your child to the dentist when the first milk teeth appear, by your child’s first birthday. The dentist can give your child a full exam and provide useful advice. 

Planning the first appointment before a potential cavity appears will make the first visit more relaxed and set the tone for a lifelong habit. Let your little one know what to expect be calm, positive and reassuring and try to schedule an appointment at a time your child is likely to be well-rested and cooperative. 

For BABIES, KIDS & JUNIORS

GUM Children Family products with the GUM Jungle Buddies