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February 2021

2 women and a child with a model of teeth and a tooth brush jpeg
An oral health professional shares tooth-brushing tips with a family.

Brushing up on early oral care

Dental Health Services Victoria has created an oral health resource to help families care for their children’s teeth.

Caring for Gums and Teeth 0–6 years provides families with useful tips and practical advice.

It also advises parents how to help children establish good oral health habits as they begin to develop more independence.

The resource was developed in response to results from a poll conducted by the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2018 revealing family uncertainty about when to start brushing children’s teeth or using toothpaste.

‘Caring for children’s teeth actually starts before teeth appear and having healthy baby teeth provides the foundation for healthy permanent teeth into adulthood,’ said DHSV Chief Executive Officer Sue McKee.

‘Tooth decay is the highest cause of preventable hospitalisations for children.

‘Establishing a routine of brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste – along with eating a healthy diet, drinking tap water and getting regular check-ups – is the best way to protect their teeth.’

The resource was developed in consultation with more than 50 families, health workers and early childhood professionals from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.

It is inclusive and accessible, reflecting the diversity of families living in Victoria and providing clear, simple messaging.

Caring for Gums and Teeth 0–6 years also supports health and early childhood professionals to engage families in conversations about dental health.

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