Information for Parents about Children's Teeth
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this page is of a general nature and is not a substitute for professional dental or medical advice or treatment. Care For Smiles does not assume responsibility for persons substituting this advice for professional medical or dental advice. Please consult your registered health provider for advice regarding specific conditions. If you are having a medical emergency you should contact your nearest emergency care centre.
On This Page
The following sections are available on this page:
- 1. About Teething
- 2. Caring for Baby's Teeth
- 3. Baby's First Visit to the Dentist
- 4. Some Concerning Habits (Thumb Sucking, Mouth Breathing, Tongue Thrusting)
- 5. Falls and Teeth
- 6. Sports and Your Child
- 7. Loose Baby Teeth
- 8. Why should you look after Baby Teeth
- 9. Resources about baby and children's teeth
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1. About Teething
Babies start teething around six months of age. It is perfectly normal for some babies to start teething earlier and others later.
Most babies go through teething without any troubles, although some develop a high temperature, upset tummy and 'crankiness'.
A frozen ice block wrapped in soft cloth is soothing for babies gums. Panadol in the recommended doses, and a soothing diet, with less fruits (to reduce acidity) also helps. Soft bread dipped in broth; yoghurt, ice cream, and custard seem to be favourites during this time.
Usually by 24 months, Baby has a full set of teeth. Some of these Baby Teeth last up to 6 years of age, and some up to 13 years of age.
2. Caring for Baby's Teeth
Baby's teeth have to be cleaned as soon as they start to show in their mouths.
Initially a soft cloth, damped with water and wrapped around your finger is best. Always ensure that Baby has clean teeth before going to sleep.
Do not give Baby sweetened liquids in a bottle as pacifiers - this is habit forming and harmful to young teeth. Warm water is recommended.
Once a child has mastered spitting, their teeth can be brushed with a Children's fluoride toothpaste. The recommended amount of toothpaste is very small, about the size of the child's fingernail.
Children up to 6 to 7 years of age do not have the manual dexterity to brush effectively. Encourage your children to brush themselves but parents should supervise and give the teeth an additional brushing.
Plaque Disclotabs is a fail proof way to show your children which areas they miss while they brush.
Encourage a varied diet. Natural food is best. Fruits, vegies, pasta, rice etc. improves Baby's appreciation of different tastes and textures of food.
Lollies, chocolates, biscuits, fizzy (carbonated) drinks (Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Pepsi) are not necessary and should not be offered or encouraged. Packaged juice often contains added sugar in large quantities. Check the nutrition guide on the label.
3. Baby's First Visit to the Dentist
Baby's first visit to the dentist for a dental check-up should be around 18 months. Do not wait for problems to arise - this causes children to view dental care and dentists in a negative light for the rest of their life.
A check up is recommended once every six months. This is important to reinforce good habits, and help correct any problems in the very early stages. Care For Smiles does not charge for check-ups for children under 6 when accompanying a paying adult (conditions apply).
Fluoride applications, fissure sealants, regular professional cleaning etc. together with a good diet and proper home care ensures a life time of healthy teeth.
Children as young as four or five can be treated for orthodontic problems, much more easily and effectively than if they are treated later on in life. Early intervention and treatment is financially more viable as well.
Please download our helpful hints for children visiting the dentist.
Parents of childen aged 2-17 who receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB-A) should also take advantage of the Federal Government's Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS). Care For Smiles will bulk-bill Medicare directly for CDBS services so there are no out-of-pocket expenses (conditions apply).
4. Some Concerning Habits
If not effectively stopped early, may cause Dental and Facial Bone changes leading to further complications with swallowing and speech.
This is caused by multiple problems, which requires assessment and early intervention. Delay in intervention and correction may cause Dental and Facial Bone changes leading to complications with swallowing and speech.
Requires early assessment and intervention to prevent further future complications with swallowing and speech.
5. Falls and Teeth
Babies often fall and get knocks and bumps to their teeth. Fortunately, Baby's jaw bones are softer than adult bones, so knocks do not usually harm the teeth.If the Baby is distressed, an icy pole can be offered - it is soothing, provides much needed hydration, cold and comfort. Please ensure that there are no loose objects including teeth in the child's mouth.
If, however, the tooth starts going darker, or if it is sore or loose, please see the Dentist for advice and treatment.
6. Sports and Your ChildIf your child plays impact sport, a professionally made fitted mouth guard is recommended. Some facial profiles are more prone to injury - have your child booked in to have a Dental assessment.
7. Loose Baby Teeth
As your child develops, the baby teeth will be replaced by adult teeth. This transition often starts around 6 years of age, and continues till 13 or 14 years of age. Encourage your child to embrace the "growing up" - loose teeth means that the stronger adult teeth are ready to come through. Your child should be encouraged to "wiggle" the loose tooth - and be rewarded when the tooth finally comes out!!
Adult teeth normally will look Bigger, Darker, and Uneven on the biting edges. Talk to your Dentist if you are concerned.
Encourage your child to brush thoroughly even when they are in between losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth. It is common for kids to slack off - as their gums may be tender- only to get gingivitis - which then makes the gums bleed more!
8. Why should you look after Baby Teeth
Baby Teeth have very important functions
- Helps the Baby chew and enjoy different types and textures of food
- Helps in swallowing and clarity of speech
- Forms the basic shape and structure of Baby's face
- Strengthens and tones facial muscles - helps in directional growth of face
- Keeps the space for adult teeth to come through
- Has a definite role in appearance, self esteem and confidence - very important in later years of life.
Therefore it is absolutely important to ensure that Baby's first set of teeth are healthy and sound till they naturally fall out.
9. Resources about baby and children's teeth
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) provides information information on several topic areas for children aged 0 to 11.