Baby Toothcare

A babys teeth need to be cared for with regular brushing as soon as they start to show. As soon as a babys teeth start to emerge they can develop tooth decay unless properly cleaned.

Most children will have their full set of 20 first teeth or milk teeth, by the time they are around two and a half years old.

Getting your child into a good teeth cleaning routine at a youg age will help ensure that they have healthy teeth when they are older too.

Always speak to your dentist if you have any concerns about the development of your childs teeth or general oral heath.


Teething is when a babys first teeth start to appear. A babys first teeth, also called milk teeth, usually develop before a baby is born. Then once the baby is born these teeth start to emerge from their gums when they are around 6 months old.


The Stages of Teething

Most babies start teething at around six months old, however all babies are different and can start teething earlier or later.

Some babies are born with their first teeth. others start teething befoe they are four months old, and some after 12 months. Early teething should not cause a child any problems, unless it affects how they feed.


Where and When a Babys Teeth Emerge

  • Front teeth (central incisors) - these are the first to come through at 6-8 months
  • Teeth either side of front teeth - these come through at around 7-9 months
  • Canines (pointy teeth on top and bottom) - these come through at around 16-18 months
  • Molars (big back teeth) - these come through at around 12-14 months
  • Second molars - these come through at around 20-24 months

Most children will have all of their milk teeth by the time they are two and a half years old.


The first adult molar tooth comes through around 6 years of age and sits directly behind the baby second molar. This tooth is often mistaken for a baby tooth. As we need to try and keep them for the whole of our lives, extra special attention needs to be given to them when they come through.


Some babies show very few signs or symptoms of teething, while others can find it painful and upsetting


How to Make Teething Easier

  • Give your baby something hard to chew on, such as a teething ring or sugar free food, if they are eating solids.
  • Use a sugar free teething gel on your babys gums where the tooth is coming through (if they are older then 4 months).
  • If your baby is in pain or has a raised temperature, you may want to give them a painkilling medicine that has been specially designed for children. Always get advice from a GP or pharmacist and follow the dosage instructions that come with the medicine.
  • Cool, sugar free drinks, such as water, will help to soothe your babys gums and may help if they are dribbling excessively.
  • Comforting or playing with your baby can sometimes distact them from the pain in their gums.
  • If teething is making your baby dribble more then usual, make sure you regularly wipe their chin and the rest of their face. This will help prevent them developing a rash.

When to Start

You can start brushing your babys teeth as soon as they begin to appear. This will help protect them against tooth decay and helps get them used to having their teeth brushed.

You need to help your child to brush their teeth until they are old enough to do them themselves, usually until around seven years old.


Brushing your Babys Teeth

Brush your babys teeth twice a day using a childrens toothbrush and a small smear of family toothpaste with fluoride in it.

Childrens toothbrushes have very small heads and soft bristles. They may be available to buy from:

  • Your dental surgery
  • A pharmacy
  • A large supermarket


How to Brush your Babies Teeth

The easiest way to brush a babys teeth is to sit them on your knee with their head resting against your chest.

Then brush the teeth in small circles, covering all the surfaces of the teeth.

Brushing you babys teeth will get your baby used to teeth brushing as part of their everyday routine

You can also set a good example by letting them watch you brush your teeth.


For advice on cleaning your babys teeth, you can ask your dentist, a dental nurse, your health visitor or a staff member at your childrens centre.

Knowing when to start cleaning a babys teeth can be simple once they begin to show, but trying to clean a toddler or childs teeth can become more difficult as they get older and more active. The best way to avoid this becoming a problem is to establish a routine. You can do this by cleaning their teeth at the same time everyday, usually first thing in the morning and before bedtime. It may also help to let your child see you clean your teeth twice a day also.

If you are having problems, always ask for advice.



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