How to take care of your oral health


Expectant families

Pregnancy is a good time to improve the entire family’s habits and practices to give the best possible starting point for the child’s growth and development.


  • The child’s developing teeth benefit from the mother’s healthy, balanced diet.
  • The entire family should adopt regular mealtimes already during the pregnancy, cutting out unnecessary snacking.
  • Water is the best drink to quench thirst.


  • The prospective parents should have their teeth examined and, if necessary, treated before the child is born.
  • Pregnancy in itself does not cause gum inflammation but it may make existing inflammation worse.
  • It may be treated with a careful cleaning of the mouth both at home and at a dental clinic.
  • Gum inflammation usually subsides after hormonal balance is restored.
  • Frequent snacking and nausea during pregnancy may cause cavities.
  • Tooth cavities are not inherited. Instead, they are caused by bacteria that adults can transmit to babies through saliva.


  • Xylitol stops acid attacks in the mouth.
  • Use full-xylitol products after meals and snacks to reduce bacteria in your mouth and reduce the risk of transmitting them to your baby.


  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Also floss your teeth daily.


Tooth cavities are caused by Streptococcus mutans bacteria. Newborn babies do not have the bacteria in their mouths. Instead, they are transmitted from adults through saliva. Adults should not let children come into contact with adult saliva. For example, do not feed children with your spoon, lick a baby’s dummy or kiss children on the mouth.

Regular mealtimes

  • Your teeth can take 5 or 6 acid attacks in a day.
  • The teeth need to rest between meals.
  • If you feed the child regular meals and snacks, the child will not need to eat between them.
  • Feedings during night are harmful to teeth.
  • Avoid giving the child sugar, juice and other sweet foods as long as possible.
  • Water is the best drink to quench thirst.

Brushing the teeth

  • When your child has their first tooth, it is time to start brushing.
  • A good toothbrush is small and soft.
  • Use small back-and-forth strokes, pay careful attention to the chewing surfaces and the gum edges.
  • Parents are always responsible for the child’s brushing.

Fluoride and xylitol

  • Children under the age of three: we recommend that you brush your child's teeth with a tiny amount, about the size of a grain of rice, of fluoride toothpaste (fluoride content 1,000–1,100 ppm) twice a day.
  • Xylitol prevents early transmission of caries bacteria and tooth cavities.
  • Latest research suggests that by using xylitol, parents can reduce their children’s risk of caries.


  • Sucking a dummy is better than sucking the thumb.
  • If your baby needs a dummy, choose one that is a small and flat.
  • In the long run, sucking a dummy may cause malocclusion (bad bite) and tooth cavities.
  • It is recommended to wean the baby off the dummy at the age of two, no later.


Have five mealtimes a day

  • Eating and drinking at regular mealtimes is healthy for your teeth because this prevents unnecessary acid attacks.
  • Your teeth need 3–4 hours of rest between meals.
  • Avoid snacking.
  • Water is the best drink to quench thirst.
  • Save sweets and soft drinks for special occasions.

How to brush a child’s teeth

  • Use a small, soft toothbrush. Put a small drop of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush.
  • Hold the child steadily.
  • Pull the child’s cheek aside with one hand to be able to brush the gum lines and the back teeth.
  • Hold the brush at a slanted angle towards the gums and move it in the direction of the gum line.
  • Brush the child’s teeth carefully using small back-and-forth movements. Brush the inside, outside and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • If the gums are bleeding, please take better overall care of brushing your child’s teeth, as healthy gums do not bleed.
  • Ask the child to rinse the mouth lightly or simply to spit out the extra toothpaste.
  • Parents should continue brushing their children’s teeth, at least in the evening, until the children are 8 years old. Children younger than this do not have sufficient hand motor skills to brush their gum line and back teeth.


  • Xylitol stops acid attacks in the mouth, prevents the growth of caries bacteria and improves saliva production.
  • To gain maximum benefit, use xylitol for 5 minutes after every meal.

Eruption of permanent teeth

  • Permanent teeth start replacing children’s primary teeth (baby teeth) around the age of 5 or 6. This continues until adolescence.
  • It is a good idea to encourage the child to remove their wobbly primary teeth themselves.

Your child’s teeth should be examined by a dentist, dental hygienist or dental assistant at agreed intervals.

Tips for grandparents for taking care of childrens oral health


  • Freshly erupted primary teeth (baby teeth) are very susceptible to teeth cavities.
  • Cavities are caused by communicable bacteria.
  • They are caused by Streptococcus mutans bacteria that are transmitted from adults to children through saliva.
  • Adults should not let children come into contact with adult saliva. For example, do not feed children with your spoon or lick a baby’s dummy.
  • We recommend that grandparents take good care of their own teeth to prevent the risk of passing bacteria to children.

Eating habits

  • Children should be taught healthy eating habits.
  • If you give the child regular meals and snacks, the child will not need to eat between them.
  • Unnecessary snacks cause weight gain and poor appetite. They may also cause tooth cavities.
  • To stay healthy, the teeth need 3–4 hours of rest between meals.
  • Water is the best drink to quench thirst.
  • Avoid giving the child sugar, juice and other sweet foods.


  • Xylitol products are a good alternative to sweets.
  • Full-xylitol chewing gum or drops after meals and snacks stop acid attacks.

Brushing the teeth

  • Brush the child’s teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • The grandparents should also support the regular teeth brushing habit that the children have learned at home.

Oral care for an elderly person who needs help

  • For oral care, place the elderly person in a half-sitting position on a bed.
  • To clean the mouth, you need disposable gloves, a gauze pad, an interdental brush, an electric toothbrush or a small soft toothbrush, and some non-foaming toothpaste.
  • Remove dentures.
  • Rinse the mouth with water.
  • Clean mucous membranes using a moist gauze pad.
  • Start by cleaning between the teeth. Gently push an interdental brush between two teeth and move it back and forth several times. Go through all the teeth.
  • Put a small drop of non-foaming fluoride toothpaste on the toothpaste.
  • Thoroughly brush the gum lines and chewing surfaces using small back-and-forth motions.
  • Bleeding is a sign of inflamed gums. If the gums bleed, please start cleaning the person’s teeth more carefully and thoroughly. Healthy gums do not bleed.

Cleaning dentures

  • To clean dentures, you need a denture brush or a nail brush, some liquid soap and disposable gloves.
  • Fill the sink with water to prevent the dentures from breaking in case you drop them.
  • Brush the dentures thoroughly. Pay particular attention to the surfaces that touch the person’s mucous membranes or natural teeth.
  • Rinse the dentures thoroughly.
  • Before putting the dentures back in the person’s mouth, apply some moisturising mouth gel on their backside.
  • Cleaning the mouth, teeth and dentures daily is the foundation of oral health. The hour of the day does not matter.
  • Keep the cleaned dentures in a dry, ventilated box overnight.

Cleaning between the teeth

Dental plaque, or a mass of bacteria, is constantly growing on the surfaces of the teeth. It causes cavities and gum inflammation.

To keep the mouth healthy and fresh, all five surfaces of each tooth must be regularly cleaned. Brush the teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. In addition, use a floss or an interdental brush to clean between the teeth.

Interdental brushes effectively prevent inflammation

Interdental brushes

  • Select interdental brushes whose size fits the space between your teeth.
  • Moisten the interdental brush and push it between your teeth deep enough to feel its end with your tongue.
  • Move the brush back and forth several times between the teeth.
  • If your gums bleed, please start cleaning your teeth more carefully and thoroughly.
  • Go through all your teeth.

Cleaning between tightly spaced teeth using floss

  • There is a variety of fine and thick floss and floss holders available.
  • Try different options to find the floss that suits you best.
  • Take about 30 cm of floss and tie it into a loop.
  • Use your fingers to keep the floss taut and slip it between your teeth using a back-and-forth motion.
  • Rinse the floss before moving on to the next pair of teeth.

Inflamed gums bleed easily. Regular flossing will heal the inflammation, in which case the bleeding will also stop.

Cleaning and care of dentures

How to clean dentures

  • Brush all surfaces of the dentures daily.
  • Use a denture brush and lukewarm water.
  • You may use liquid soap or hand dishwashing detergent as a cleansing agent.
  • An ordinary toothbrush may scratch the dentures.
  • We recommend that you rinse your mouth and the dentures with water after finishing a meal. This removes scraps of food from your mucous membranes and dentures.
  • Remove the dentures at night. Store them in a dry, open box.

Natural teeth

  • If you have both a denture and natural teeth, it is equally important to clean the latter ones carefully.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use floss, toothpicks or an interdental brush to clean between your teeth.
  • Have your dentures, mucous membranes and teeth regularly examined by your dentist.

Frequently asked questions

Should my child pull out their loose baby teeth?

Yes, they should. Baby teeth (also called primary teeth) usually fall out on their own because their roots dissolve as permanent teeth begin to erupt. It is a good idea to encourage the child to pull out their own loose baby teeth. A good way to do this is to grab the wobbly tooth with a piece of tissue paper or kitchen paper and wiggle it loose.

Permanent teeth start replacing children’s primary teeth around the age of 5 or 6. This continues until adolescence. There are 20 baby teeth in total. Usually all of them get replaced by permanent teeth over the years. When permanent teeth erupt, they sometimes only have little space in the child’s small mouth. The situation often fixes itself as the child’s jaws grow.

A dentist’s help is usually only needed if a permanent tooth has erupted but the primary tooth has not even started to become loose.

What is inflammation of the gums and what are its symptoms?

Healthy gums are pink and firm. They do not bleed. In its early stage, gum inflammation – also called gingivitis – causes bleeding when you brush your teeth. Bleeding and painful gums can be treated with thorough oral care at home: carefully brush your gum lines and clean the spaces between your teeth with floss, toothpicks or an interdental brush.

Gum inflammation is often linked to calculus buildup. Calculus, or tartar, is hardened dental plaque that cannot be removed by brushing. Plaque and calculus buildup on the surfaces of the teeth and in the gum pockets cause gum inflammation. If the condition advances, it starts damaging the soft tissue holding your teeth in place and, if left untreated, will eventually cause your teeth to fall out. Smoking reduces blood flow to the gums and hinders the healing of gum diseases.

It is a good idea to have your calculus removed by a dental hygienist or dentist. They will also suggest a time for your next appointment.

Are ordinary or electric toothbrushes better?

When used correctly, both are efficient.

The benefits of an electric toothbrush include its effective motion and the small, soft brush that makes it easy to clean even the hard-to-reach surfaces of your back teeth. If you use an electric toothbrush, brush one teeth at a time without pressing too hard or moving the brush back and forth. The timer on the brush reminds you to keep brushing long enough.

If you use an ordinary toothbrush, it should be soft and small. To brush your teeth, move the brush back and forth, using short strokes, along each row of teeth. Brush a few teeth at a time.

Go systematically through all surfaces and pay particular attention to your gum lines.

You should replace your toothbrush at least once every three months and whenever it looks frayed.

Why are my teeth sensitive to hot or cold? How can I prevent it?

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many reasons, such as caries (tooth cavities), cracked teeth, erosion, abrasion (wear) or exposed root of the tooth due to gum recession.

If tooth sensitivity is caused by receding gums, it is important to make sure that you are using a soft brush (soft, extra soft and silky soft) and brushing gently. Toothpastes for sensitive teeth may help if used regularly.

What causes my mouth to feel dry? How can it be treated?

Your mouth feels dry when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. Some medications and diseases may reduce its production. Breathing through your mouth and hormonal changes may also cause mouth dryness.

The symptoms may be alleviated by drinking water, using dry mouth drops that moisten the mouth, and using xylitol products and moisturising mouth gels sold in pharmacies. A non-foaming fluoride toothpaste, also available in pharmacies, is recommended. Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as they will dry your mucous membranes. As there is less saliva to protect your teeth, consuming acidic, sugary drinks and drops causes an acid attack and increases the risk of tooth cavities.