Healthy kids have strong healthy teeth.

A child’s first teeth are important, as speech and the child’s appearance are strongly influenced by emerging teeth. Baby teeth provide the foundation for the adult teeth that will replace them one day.

Maintaining healthy teeth forms part of the exploration process for infants as their diet matures and they begin chewing increasingly complex foods. The ability to chew foods well is very important in the digestive process and getting off to the right start helps prevent other problems further down the track.

Dentistry for young people is all about education and prevention. Increase the likelihood of your children having strong cavity free teeth by including the following tips in your child’s routine:

Even before they have teeth, infants should have their gums cleaned. Use a gauze pad or infant washcloth after feedings and before bedtime.
Avoid putting your baby to bed with his or her bottle.
Brush your children’s teeth until they are three years old, then start encouraging them to join in.
Children under four should use a simple brushing technique such as a small circular brushing motion.
It is especially important to keep your child enthusiastic and motivated about caring for his or her teeth. So whether you’re teaching your children how to brush properly or taking them to the dentist for a check-up, remember that it’s up to you to set a good example. And don’t forget to praise your child afterwards for clean teeth and a healthy smile! Here’s a good idea: brushing your teeth together sets a good example and helps your child learn by watching and imitating you. It can also create a consistent and fun environment for tooth brushing.

What is “baby bottle tooth decay”?

If a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing milk (even breast milk), formula or juice, the sugar in the drink and the bacteria in your baby’s mouth can interact to form an acid that attacks the enamel in your baby’s teeth and may cause tooth decay. Fortunately, this is easy to prevent; if your baby needs a bedtime bottle, fill it with water instead.

When should I first take my baby to the dentist?

Take your baby with you to your hygiene visits or dental exams so that your baby gets use to the environment. Then as they grow older they can be given rides in the chair and slowly introduced to the instruments until they can have a proper exam by the age of about 3 or 4. Diagnosing problems in children at an early age makes treatment easier as minor problems can be identified and treated before they become larger dental concerns.

Teething

Teething is an exciting time for parents as it is a physical sign of baby growing older and nothing melts the heart more than a smile from your loved one with little teeth showing.

They can also start eating more solid foods which accelerates their development.

It can also be a time of stress for baby, as this period is accompanied by sore or tender gums that may appear red or swollen. Other changes are also occurring at this time but teething is the term used to describe this stage.

Parents can feel frustrated as they try to relieve their baby’s discomfort. Different things you can try are:

  • A cold teething ring
  • Gently rubbing the gums with a finger or the back of a cold spoon
  • Ask your pharmacist for a pain reliever to suit your baby. Always seek medical advice if symptoms persist.

Dental Timetable

Baby’s first teeth (the front four) usually appear sometime between the age of six months and one year.

Children should first go to the dentist sometime between the eruption of their first tooth and their first birthday.

By the time your child is three years old, he or she should have a complete set of primary (or baby) teeth.

Around age three your child should be learning to brush using a simple brushing technique—such as a small circular brushing motion. However, you should brush for them afterwards to ensure their teeth and gums are properly cleaned.
Baby teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth from around the age of six until age 12 or 13. At this time, your child will have 28 of their 32 permanent teeth.

Brushing should be supervised until age eight. Floss your child’s teeth until he or she is able to do a good job themself— around age 10.

The last teeth to appear are the wisdom teeth, which erupt around age 16.

How will my baby’s teeth develop?

Usually, your baby’s front four teeth (two on the top and two on the bottom) are the first to appear, sometime between six months and one year of age. These are often accompanied by sore or tender gums that may appear red or swollen. This stage is known as teething. Visit the Teething section to find out more about relieving your baby’s discomfort.

At around three years old, most children should have a complete set of 20 primary (or baby) teeth. It is very important to take good care of these first teeth, even though they will be replaced by permanent teeth. This is because your child’s baby teeth hold the spaces for the permanent teeth to come in; if a baby tooth is lost, the permanent tooth could come in crooked.

When will my child’s baby teeth start to fall out?

Your child will start to lose his or her baby teeth around age six. The process of permanent teeth replacing primary teeth occurs until age 12 or 13. By the time your child’s wisdom teeth erupt at around age 16, he or she will have a complete set of 32 permanent teeth.

Because the process of replacing primary teeth with permanent teeth occurs gradually, keeping all the teeth clean may be a challenge. That’s because your child will have larger permanent teeth growing next to smaller primary teeth, and this unevenness means lots of spaces for food and plaque to collect.