Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

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Brush, book and bed

Toothbrushing should be an essential part of your bedtime routine

Children love a routine!

A healthy bedtime routine should incorporate brushing your child’s teeth, reading together and setting a regular bedtime.

Top tips for tooth brushing:

Children’s teeth and gums should be cleaned at bedtime and at one other time of the day. You will need:

  • A small headed toothbrush with soft bristles.
  •  Fluoride toothpaste. You only need to use a tiny smear of toothpaste for children under 3 years, a pea-size amount is needed for anyone over 3 years.
  • No water! Children should be encouraged to spit out excess toothpaste or you should regularly wipe their mouth.
  • Time and patience! Bedtime toothbrushing is not only the most important but it could be the most fun! Try to not rush toothbrushing, instead be creative! For more tips download the Bedtime for baby teeth leaflet.

6 steps for successful storytelling:

  1. Read a story every night
  2. Take your time
  3. Children love to hear your voice
  4. Point out things in the story
  5. Be brave and use different voices and facial expressions
  6. Remember the child can’t read so don’t be frightened to change the story

The Oral Health Foundation have written 6 story books:

The secrets to sound sleep

  • Limit screen time, dim the lights and close the curtains before bed.
  • Babies love repetition so a routine will help them to predict it is night time.
  • A bath before bed can help to calm and prepare for sleep.
  • Try to put children in bed awake to allow them to self-settle to sleep.
  • But remember growth spurts, teething and illness can impact on sleep.

Quality sleep is essential for children’s growth and development. For sleep advice see The Sleep Council.


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Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Parentline. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health practitioner within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

  • Parents and carers of children aged 0-19:



Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 19-03-2021

This page will be next reviewed on 19-03-2024