Oral Health


In 2015/16 the number of Somerset registered children (aged 0-19) admitted to hospital for dental extraction was  544, of these 220 were aged 9 and below.


Good oral health in childhood means healthy teeth and gums throughout life.





The Basics:


  • Brush teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
  • 'Spit, don’t rinse’ after brushing – this gives the toothpaste time to work to protect teeth.
  • Limit sweets and sugary drinks
  • Register with a dentist and attend all check ups  




From the moment their first tooth appears, brush your baby’s teeth and gums at least twice daily, in the morning and last thing at night. At first your baby may find it a bit strange but will soon get used to the soothing feeling. Find a place that is comfortable and safe for baby. Always supervise tooth brushing and never leave a baby or small child alone with a toothbrush or toothpaste.


Which toothbrush? Use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles.


Which toothpaste? At home, encourage healthy habits and use a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. For children under three years of age use a smear of fluoride toothpaste on to a dry brush.


Tooth brushing positions on your knee on a changing mat in a baby chair or high chair sitting in a pram or buggy in the bath.


When to brush pick a time that is convenient to you think of your child’s daily routine, perhaps at playtime or bath time eventually you can move on to a morning and night time routine.    


Toddler & pre-school:


A growing child needs teeth to smile and eat with, and to give them confidence. Establishing a good oral care routine from early childhood is important and can be supported by parents and carers.


Which toothbrush? Use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles.


Which toothpaste? For children aged three years and above, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.


When to brush At home, children’s teeth should be brushed last thing at night before bed time and on at least one other occasion. As more teeth come through, it is important to develop a system of brushing that ensures that all surfaces of the teeth are brushed thoroughly each time. Assist tooth brushing until about seven years of age as by then their coordination will be fully developed and they will be able to brush properly. Children should be encouraged to do some of the brushing themselves so that they develop tooth brushing skills. Remember to encourage your child. Praise will often get results.    


Registering with a dentist:


For advice and guidance on dental registration in your area, call the Dental Helpline: The dental helpline is a service designed to offer dental advice and/or appointments for urgent dental treatment - See more at: www.sompar.nhs.uk/what-we-do/dental-services


The dental helpline number is 0300 123 7691.  Alternatively you can email: