Babies teeth start to appear at around 6 months and all 20 baby teeth will usually be through after 2½ years.
Baby teeth are important because they:
Allow the child to chew a wide range of foods and make food easier to digest
Make speech possible. Without teeth some words and sounds are very difficult to form
Hold a space open for the adult teeth to grow into. If the baby teeth are lost too early, the adult teeth may come through in the wrong position. If this happens the child may need orthodontic treatment (braces) later
Allow your child to have a nice smile
To keep the teeth healthy, it is important to keep them clean and have healthy diet.
You should brush your teeth for two minutes last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, using a good fluoride toothpaste. Children should be supervised brushing their teeth until the age of 7 years old.
Your child should use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles.
They should clean their teeth using small, circular movements, trying to concentrate on one section at a time.
Don’t forget to brush gently behind the teeth and onto the gums.
Your child should be encouraged to spit out after brushing their teeth, but not to rinse as this will wash the fluoride off the teeth before it has had a chance to work.
Over the age of 3 years old, your child should use a pea-sized smear of toothpaste that contains between 1350-1500 ppm (parts per million) fluoride.
Remember to encourage your child, as praise will often get results.
Cut down on how often your child has sugary foods and drinks.
If they do have sugary foods and drinks, try to keep them to part of a mealtime to minimise the damage that they can cause.
Sugar in foods and drinks reacts with the plaque in the mouth and produces plaque acids. It is this acid the causes dental decay and can lead to fillings or even the need to have the tooth extracted.
If your child needs a snack in-between mealtimes, try to stick to safer snacks such as, cheese, breadsticks, toast, rice cakes, vegetables etc.
The safest drinks are either milk or water.
Your child should visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. You can take your child to the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears in the mouth. We would recommend that all children should have visited a dentist before their 3rd birthday.