A guide to protecting your baby's teeth
Setting up good dental habits early on can have many positive benefits for your children's teeth as they grow.
It's important to do what you can to protect, clean and care for your baby's teeth. This can extend through to the food and drinks they consume, as well as dental check-ups and procedures.
Caring for your children's teeth
- Set up good dental habits by brushing your child's teeth as soon as they start to show, using the appropriate toothpaste targeted for their age group. Even before teeth appear, wiping your baby’s gums after feeding with a moistened washer helps remove residue from food that would otherwise be available to ‘feed’ bacteria present in the mouth.
- Low dose fluoride toothpaste should be used from six months of age (if you live in a non-fluoridated area) or 18 months (if you live in a fluoridated area). You should switch to adult fluoride toothpaste once your child turns six years old and is able to expectorate (spit out) the excess.
- Regular check-ups with our practice will also help protect your children's teeth, and these should start from around 12 months of age if there are no previous issues.
- Brush thoroughly all around the surface of the teeth. Use just a small swipe of toothpaste if your child is under six years of age. If they are older, squeeze out a pea-sized amount.
It's important to limit the amount of sugar that your children consume, for their overall health and wellbeing as well as their teeth.
Encourage your children to drink plain water, rather than soft drinks or sugary fruit juice, and cut back on the amount of sweet foods you give them. From the age of six months, you can give your child cooled boiled water. Once they reach 12 months they can start drinking unboiled water.
Pacifiers or dummies can impact the way your child's teeth develop and grow, so it's important to limit your children's use of these devices as much as possible and introduce them only after 1-2 months if you need to. Avoid using bottles as pacifiers as well.