A routine of good oral hygiene will ensure a young child's teeth and mouth are always healthy and that their adult teeth grow properly. Unhealthy gums may provide poor support for a child's adult teeth, and learning how to take care of their teeth when they're young can ensure a child will continue with a good oral care routine as they get older. While only a dentist can answer questions about your child's oral care in particular, note a few general questions you might have about keeping your child's teeth healthy and clean.

Can you use an adult toothbrush for children?

Children and especially infants may have very sensitive gums, so a toothbrush with stiff bristles might be painful for them to use and actually cause scratches on their gums and teeth. Opt for an infant toothbrush for very young children, and then a toothbrush for children once they get older and their mouth gets stronger.

Also, when brushing an infant's teeth, be sure to use gentle motions, as you don't need to actually scrub their mouth to get it clean. Teach an older child the same thing, as they might cause damage to the teeth and gums by using too much pressure when they brush.

When should a child be taken for their first dental check-up?

As soon as your child gets in his or her first tooth, you want to take them to a paediatric dentist. Even though a child will eventually lose their baby teeth, a dentist will want to examine their mouth to ensure those new teeth are healthy, and also ensure they come out as they should, so that the child has room in their mouth and has the healthy gums they need for growing their adult teeth properly.

Does thumb sucking or using a pacifier cause crooked teeth?

It's a common thought that an infant who sucks his or her thumb or a pacifier will have crooked teeth, but typically a child doesn't suck on their thumb or anything else so hard that they would actually affect the growth of their jawbone! However, if a child gets into the habit of sucking on things like lollipops or hard candies, the sugar in those foods might cause tooth decay and other dental issues. Sucking on something sharp such as a drinking straw might also cause damage to the gums. In any case, discuss this issue with your children's dentist if you're concerned about any habits they have, and for how long they last past infancy.