Preventing Tooth Decay

Have Good Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene helps keep your mouth and teeth healthy.

  • Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes at least twice a day. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal and before going to bed
  • Brush your tongue to remove rotting food particles that cause bad breath
  • Do not rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth so that fluoride in the toothpaste can continue protecting your teeth
  • Floss your teeth once a day, ideally before going to bed. Dental floss helps remove plaque between teeth in places your toothbrush cannot reach
  • If it is impossible to brush your teeth after eating something sweet, rinse your mouth with water. You can also eat a piece of cheese or chew gum. Go for sugarless chewing gum with xylitol, which is a natural sugar that does not cause cavities. Chewing gum helps protect teeth against cavities by increasing saliva in your mouth

Oral hygiene for babies and children

Until about the age of 6, children do not always have the manual dexterity to brush their teeth well by themselves. The following is therefore important:

  • Supervise your child brushing their teeth
  • Finish brushing their teeth for them when necessary
  • Use the right amount of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush. Also, avoid sharing toothbrushes not to risk transmitting cavity-causing bacteria

Babies 0 to 6 months old

  • Before their first tooth appears, clean your baby’s mouth and massage their gums gently with a clean and damp washcloth. Do this at least twice daily, preferably after bottle or breastfeeding
  • Rinse the washcloth after each usage and reserve it specially for taking care of your baby’s mouth
  • Do not use toothpaste if your baby does not have teeth

Children 6 months to 3 years old

  • Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears
  • Brush their teeth twice daily minimum, especially before naps and bedtime
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. Use toothpaste the amount of a grain of rice
  • Show your child how to spit out excess toothpaste after brushing their teeth. Do not rinse your child’s mouth afterwards so that fluoride in the toothpaste can continue protecting their teeth
  • Gently brush your baby’s tongue

Children 3 to 6 years old

  • Brush your child’s teeth for 2 minutes twice daily minimum, especially before going to bed, and after all meals ideally
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. Use toothpaste the amount of a garden pea
  • Show your child how to spit out excess toothpaste after brushing their teeth. Do not rinse your child’s mouth afterwards so that fluoride in the toothpaste can continue protecting their teeth
  • Teach your child how to brush the tongue
  • Help your child floss daily

Children over 6 years old

  • Make sure your child brushes their teeth for 2 minutes at least twice daily. Encourage them to do so especially before going to bed, and after all meals ideally
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. Spread between 0.5 to 1 cm of toothpaste on the toothbrush
  • Make sure your child spits out excess toothpaste and does not rinse their mouth after brushing their teeth so that fluoride in the toothpaste can continue protecting their teeth
  • Encourage your child to brush their tongue and to floss daily

Last update: November 8, 2016 10:44 AM

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