When teething begins — usually at six months of age but sometimes as late as 12-14 months — your child’s oral health becomes even more important because the risk for tooth decay increases.
This helpful chart from the American Dental Association shows a baby’s approximate age when each type of primary tooth typically erupts, or breaks through the gums.
Teething babies naturally chew more and begin forming words, and healthy primary teeth are crucial for both. By age three, most children have a full set of baby teeth, so establish good habits early!
How to Care for Teeth in Babies and Toddlers
This is the ideal time to schedule an Age 1 Dental Visit. If you don’t have a family dentist, Mercy Dental Services can help! Schedule your baby’s visit online or call 330-471-5950 for more information.
1. When teeth appear, begin brushing.
Use a soft, child-sized toothbrush, a smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) and water to gently brush your baby’s teeth twice a day. Make the toothbrush bristles even softer by soaking them in warm water before brushing. Brush in small, circular motions for two minutes. Don’t forget to brush the tongue to get rid of germs and freshen breath.
2. Soothe your baby’s tender gums.
Offer your baby cool relief from teething pain with a teething ring, the back of a small spoon dipped in cool water or a cool, wet washcloth. Don’t give your baby small objects/items or toys that could fall apart; this is a choking hazard.
3. Use the right amount of toothpaste.
Until age three, just use a smear of toothpaste. Between ages three and six, a pea-sized amount is appropriate. Help them avoid swallowing toothpaste.
4. Start flossing daily when any two teeth touch.
Use regular dental floss or plastic floss holders.
5. Schedule an Age 1 Dental Visit before your child’s first birthday.
This “well-baby checkup” is a positive opportunity for your child to get to know your dentist before any problems arise.
6. As your child grows, encourage them to practice brushing.
As children grow, they will naturally want to brush their own teeth. Allow them to practice this skill, making sure they brush, spit and rinse properly to minimize swallowing toothpaste. Then, brush your child’s teeth a second time. Most children won’t have the motor skills to brush independently until about six years of age.
8. Feed your child a nutritious diet.
Good food helps every part of your child’s body, including the teeth! Talk with your pediatrician or other health care provider about healthy foods and beverages for your growing child.
- Avoid soft drinks and sugary liquids, including sports beverages, which can lead to cavities and other health problems. Also, don’t let your child carry around or go to sleep with a sippy cup.
- Choose snacks wisely and select foods that are rich in vitamins and calcium.
- Avoid sugary foods, including chewy fruit snacks and sugared cereals.