When should baby teeth should start coming in? When should you start brushing your baby’s teeth? When should you take your child to the dentist? What sort of toothpaste should you use? Do dummies actually ruin teeth development? Whatever your question, we’ve got the answers to all of your baby teeth queries here.

Is My Baby Teething?

Your baby will probably get his first tooth when he is around six-months old, but babies can start teething at any time and some babies already have teeth when they are born. Symptoms of teething include swollen sore gums, irritability and sleeplessness, flushed cheeks, excessive drooling and chewing, loose stools, and a mild fever. You can read more about the signs and symptoms of teething here: Teething Symptoms and Signs of Teething.

When Will My Child Get All Of His / Her Milk Teeth?

smiling babyYour child will probably have all of her twenty milk teeth by the time she is two and a half years old. Children’s teeth tend to appear in the following order, but don’t be alarmed if your child is different:

  • Six Months – Two Bottom Front Middle Teeth (Central Incisors)
  • Eight Months – Two Top Front Middle Teeth (Central Incisors)
  • Ten Months – Two Top Teeth – One either side of Front Teeth (Lateral Incisors)
  • Twelve Months – Two Bottom Teeth – One either side of Front Teeth (Lateral Incisors)
  • Sixteen Months – Four Back Teeth – One either side on each row (First Molars)
  • Twenty Months – Four Middle Teeth – One either side on each row between the Lateral Incisors and the First Molars (Canines)
  • Thirty Months – Four Back Teeth – One either side on each row at the back of the mouth (Second Molars)

When Should I Start Brushing My Child’s Teeth?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that baby teeth don’t matter. Tooth decay at any age is a painful experience and can lead to problems with your baby’s gums, later affecting his or her adult teeth. You can start cleaning before your child’s first teeth appear by wiping a clean, wet cloth along her gums. Once his or her teeth appear, you can start using a soft toothbrush.

Look for one specifically designed for babies. Be consistent with its use so that your baby gets used to the idea of teeth brushing. You may have to use lots of encouragement, as some children are reluctant to have their teeth brushed. Consider letting your child have a turn at brushing your own teeth, or making up a song as you do it.

What Toothpaste Should I Use On My Baby’s Teeth?

Do not use a regular toothpaste on your baby’s teeth, as there will be too much fluoride in it and the flavour will probably be too strong. Instead, look for one that is age appropriate – i.e. aimed at 0-2 year olds, as this will have the recommended amount of fluoride for that age and the flavour will be more gentle.

When Should I Start Taking My Child To The Dentist?

baby brushing teethRegister your child with a dentist as soon as your child is born. Whilst the dentist won’t be able to do very much when your baby is very young, it’s a good idea to take them along to an appointment once every six months to get them used to being at the dentist.

You could take your child at the same time as your own regular appointments, so he can see what happens (though if you are having anything more than a check up you might want to arrange for someone else to look after your child).

How Else Can I Care For My Child’s Teeth?

Avoid sugary foods and drinks. This includes dried fruit snacks and fruit juices, which may appear to be healthy alternatives but are actually full of fruit sugars that are harmful to your baby’s teeth. Opt for fresh fruit and water instead.

Once you start weaning, introduce your child to a sippy cup, and aim to give up bottles all together by the time he is aged one. That’s because bottles leave more fluid around your baby’s mouth, and milk contains naturally occurring sugars that can lead to tooth decay. You should also avoid feeding your baby to sleep with a bottle once he has teeth, as milk may be left in his mouth for a long period of time.

Will A Dummy / Pacifier Damage My Child’s Teeth?

Prolonged use of a dummy may affect the placement of your baby’s teeth, possibly leading to an overbite. If you do decide to give your child a dummy, aim to have them give it up before they are two-years-old to avoid this effect. It’s also a good idea to restrict use of the dummy to certain times, such as sleeping, or during long car journeys, as this will restrict the effect of the dummy both on the your child’s teeth and their speech development.

Look for an orthodontic dummy as opposed to the more traditional shaped dummies, as these are better for teeth. Make sure your child’s dummy is kept clean and change them regularly, especially as soon as any cracks or holes appear. Never be tempted to dip the dummy into something sugary as this can cause tooth decay.