A baby’s first set of teeth normally appear in the mouth sometime between the ages of five and eight months aſter birth. Although, it can be as late as 12 months or even a bit later at times. Teeth will continue to appear until the child reaches about 30-36 months (2 1/2 to 3 years) by which time all 20 milk (primary) teeth are in place.
Teething can make your baby’s gums inflamed and sore as the teeth have to push their way through the gums. You might notice your baby is more bad-tempered than usual, or has trouble sleeping. He/she might start to chew on their toys or fingers and dribble more than usual. However, if your child has a fever or is nauseous, do not assume this is do to teething and make sure you take them to the doctor.
If your baby seems uncomfortable or in pain, there are ways you can help. To soothe your baby, try giving him/her something safe to bite on such as a teething ring (preferably cooled in the fridge first). You can also clean your baby’s mouth several times a day with a clean, damp gauze pad to help limit bacteria around the swollen gums and new teeth.
This is a destructive pattern of tooth decay that can occur in babies and young children. It is caused when a child’s teeth are regularly exposed to sugary liquids for long periods, such as juice or milk (even breast milk). In particular, problems arise when children are allowed to fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. The mouth produces less saliva during sleep and is more dry. The teeth are then bathed in the sugar containing liquid overnight without being cleared with the natural saliva. This allows the decay-causing bacteria on the teeth to feast all night long and produce acid which then begins to destroy the hard enamel tooth surface. The best solution to this is not to use a feeding bottle as a pacifier or allow children to go to bed with anything but water in a bottle.
For the same reason you should also avoid giving your baby a pacifier that has been dipped in anything sweet.
Provided their use is limited, pacifiers and thumb sucking should not pose a problem for the first two to three years of a child’s life before the permanent teeth erupt. Sucking is a basic and natural instinct of babies and most health practitioners agree that the use of a pacifier can help soothe a child and not a major problem. The pacifier should be kept clean, be free from cracks, and designed not to minimally affect the child’s bite and it should never be tied around your child’s neck. Click here for our recommendation on oral health products for your child. However, the longer a child sucks on a pacifier or finger, the more likely that it could cause problems in the development of their adult teeth, and might push them out of position. If you are concerned about your child’s sucking habits, you may make an appointment to see a hellosmile children’s dentist.
It can oſten be confusing to know exactly what you should be doing for your baby’s oral health and when you should be doing it. Starting a good oral health regime early will set your children up for life and give them the best chance of having healthy teeth and gums into old age.
You should start to clean your baby’s teeth and gums as soon as the first teeth start to show. Not only does this remove food debris and bacteria, but it also helps to establish tooth brushing as a normal part of your child’s daily routine.
Healthy eating habits can help to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Don’t put anything apart from milk or water into your baby’s bottle. Juice, or even weak squash, is acidic and sugary, which can damage your child’s teeth.
As primary teeth fall out, people think that they do not matter, as long as the permanent teeth are well looked aﬅer when they come through into the mouth. This is not true. The primary teeth have a number of important roles to play: Primary teeth are essential in the first step of digesting food: chewing, biting, and grinding. Primary teeth act as guides for the permanent teeth; by keeping proper spaces in the mouth, they help permanent teeth enter the mouth in the correct places. If primary teeth are lost early through decay there is more chance of them affecting the position of permanent teeth, so they may become crooked or even blocked by other teeth. Primary teeth can influence the development and growth of the face and jaw muscles.
Your child’s teeth are vulnerable to decay (particularly if the child is eating sweet and sticky food), as the enamel on milk teeth is not as hard as it is on adult teeth. If you are keeping your child’s teeth clean by twice daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste they are far less likely to suffer tooth decay. However, if you think your child might have tooth decay (e.g. you can see stains on the teeth) or if he/she is in any pain, you should take him/her to visit your local dental practitioner if possible. Tooth decay and disease present in primary teeth can be passed on to the permanent teeth as they erupt. Primary molars remain in the mouth until around 10 to 12 years, with lots of opportunity to pass decay on to their new permanent neighbours. If it spreads to the root, an infection in a primary tooth can actually damage the permanent tooth lying directly underneath.
If your child is still sucking his/her thumb towards the end of this period, you may want to think about gently persuading them to stop. This can be tricky, so try not to make it too traumatic. You could start by drawing attention to the habit and help them stop when they are ready to do so. If your child is regularly sucking his/her thumb when the permanent teeth come through, it can sometimes cause problems with tooth positioning. Seek advice from a dental health professional if you are worried about this.
If your child doesn’t like having his/her teeth brushed, you’re not alone. The following tips might help: Make it less of a battle by inventing games around tooth brushing. Brush your teeth with your child so that they can see you do it too. Explain gently to your child what you’re doing and why. Give reasons that will make sense to your child and appeal to them – super-strong teeth can be exciting to children obsessed with superheroes! Make sure that brushing is a regular part of your child’s routine, not something that stops and starts. Why not try our Brushing Contract and Toothometer to encourage the twice daily brushing routine?
It is particularly vital to keep the mouth clean and healthy during this stage. The irregular mix of primary and permanent teeth in the mouth makes children’s teeth particularly vulnerable. Decay is more likely if the child is eating sweet and sticky foods. If your child is keeping his/her teeth clean by twice daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste they are far less likely to suffer tooth decay. However, if you think your child might have tooth decay (e.g. you can see stains on the teeth) or if he/she is in any pain, you should take him/her to visit your local dental practitioner if possible. Tooth decay and disease present in primary teeth can be passed on to the permanent teeth as they erupt. Primary molars remain in the mouth until around 10 to 12 years of age, with lots of opportunity to pass decay on to their new permanent neighbours. If it spreads to the root, an infection in a primary tooth can damage the permanent tooth lying directly underneath.
If your child doesn’t like brushing his/her teeth, the following tips might help: Make it less of a battle by inventing games around tooth brushing. Brush your teeth with your child so that they can see you do it too. Explain gently to your child why it’s so important to brush their teeth, with reasons they can relate to, according to their age. Super-strong teeth can be motivating for six-year-olds keen on superheroes, while an attractive appearance and fresh breath may be more important to older children who are becoming more aware of themselves. Make sure that tooth brushing is a regular part of your child’s routine, not something that stops and starts. Why not try our Brushing Contract and Toothometer to encourage the brushing twice daily routine?
If your child doesn’t like the taste of your normal toothpaste, try shopping around for different flavours to tempt them. The fluoride in toothpaste plays a vital role in strengthening teeth and is particularly important as your child’s permanent teeth start to arrive.
The most important thing is to ensure that your children brush their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste – once in the morning and again last thing before bed. By this age, children are capable of brushing on their own. Although you might not be brushing their teeth, they still need your help to establish the brushing twice daily habit for life. You should encourage your children to brush their teeth morning and night. It is particularly vital to keep the mouth clean and healthy during this stage. The irregular mix of primary and permanent teeth in the mouth makes children’s teeth vulnerable. Decay is more likely if the child is eating sweet and sticky foods. Use a toothbrush especially designed for children as they will have a smaller head to fit in a child’s mouth. Use a normal-sized amount of toothpaste. You can now use an adult toothpaste; however, if your child doesn’t like the taste of adult toothpaste, you can use toothpaste designed specifically for children of this age as this will not only contain the appropriate amount of fluoride but also have an appealing gentle taste.
Explain to your child how to clean their teeth and why it’s important that they do it regularly. You should check that they are doing a thorough job and might suggest using plaque disclosing tablets to show them the areas they are missing. Help your child to clean their teeth gently but firmly, and don’t forget to brush the gums. Help your child to move around the mouth systematically. Start with the last tooth and move towards the front teeth brushing first the outside, then the inside tooth surfaces. They should work their way through the mouth quarter by- quarter. Remind them to brush the biting surfaces of the teeth, as these can be particularly vulnerable to decay – it’s difficult to keep these clean when tooth sizes are uneven. You should also encourage your child to use their toothbrush to clean their tongue. Lots of plaque and bacteria live on the tongue, so it is well worth gently brushing the tongue on a regular basis. Speak to your local dental health practitioner for more information on how to best keep your child’s teeth clean.
Healthy eating habits can help to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Be a role model – children may want to eat the same things as their friends, but you can still be a good influence. Chances are that if you eat well at home, your children will learn to think of this as “normal.” Of course, it is impossible (and very boring!) to avoid all potentially damaging foods: balance is the key. Enjoy treats as part of your meals, not in between, and limit the worst offenders such as sticky, sugary foods, and fizzy drinks.
Most children need snacks to meet their nutritional needs as they grow, but you should try to avoid them snacking all day long. When your child is old enough, ensure you give him/her nutritious and healthy snacks such as vegetables, yoghurt, and fruits, which are also better for their oral health. In particular, dairy products contain calcium, which is essential for building strong teeth. Your child will oﬅen be eating away from home, particularly during the day. Explain to your child why it’s important not to eat and drink too many foods and liquids that could damage their oral health, and to brush their teeth at least twice a day, so that they can have healthy teeth and gums.