Oral health care is not only important for adult teeth, but also for baby teeth. In fact, the health of the baby teeth can affect the adult teeth. Therefore, it is important to look after your children’s teeth and gums from an early age, starting even before the first baby tooth emerges.
When do the baby teeth emerge?
Baby teeth may be present at birth in some, however more commonly the first pair of baby teeth will come in between the ages of 3 to 12 months. All 20 baby teeth should be present in the mouth by 3 years old.
When the teeth start emerging, it can be quite an uncomfortable experience for your child. You might notice them becoming more irritable, rubbing their gums, dribbling and chewing on things a lot.
Simple tips to soothe your child include…
- Rub their gums with a cold spoon or wash cloth
- Use a chilled teething ring
- Use a dummy
- Teething gels: this is more of a last resort if other techniques don’t help. As teething gels can be swallowed by your child, they can cause the throat to be numb and therefore are a choking hazard.
Cleaning your child’s mouth
Before their teeth emerge:
- Use a damp cloth to gently wipe their gums after feeding
When they start to get some teeth:
- Age 0-17 months: Use a children’s toothbrush (no toothpaste) to gently brush the teeth in circular motions
- Age 18 months+: Use a children’s toothbrush and place a pea sized amount of Children’s toothpaste on it. Gently brush the teeth in circular motions and spit out the toothpaste.
Your child’s first dental appointment
It is recommended that your child sees a dentist for a check-up around the time that their first tooth erupts. If their first tooth hasn’t erupted by 1 year of age, then that is also a good time to see the dentist.
Their first visit may involve a small exam, oral hygiene tips and advice on what to expect as their mouth continues to develop.