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Baby’s Teeth

First teeth usually come through from six months and continue until all 20 primary (milk teeth) are through at around age two and a half. Second teeth will come through from age six onwards.

Some teeth come through almost unnoticed but most babies will feel some discomfort, even pain, as the tooth breaks through the gums. You may find that they dribble more than usual, experience some general irritability and disturbed sleep, and perhaps gnaw or chew frantically on hard objects to obtain some relief. There is a full range of gels, medicines and teething rings available from your local pharmacy. You could also try the more natural solutions, like crunching or chewing cold food or bread (always stay nearby in case of choking).

  • As soon as the first tooth comes through you should start brushing your baby‘s teeth. The important thing is to get teeth brushing accepted as part of the normal daily routine, establishing good habits early. Make sure your child sees you brushing your teeth too, to reinforce this message.
  • The most effective way to brush their teeth is to sit the baby on your knee, their head resting against your chest, and opposite a mirror so you can both see what is happening.
  • Brush the teeth in small circles covering all the surfaces. Use only a smear of toothpaste. You can also clean your baby’s teeth using toothpaste on damp gauze wrapped around your fingertip.
  • Fluoride is a natural element in our diet which can help prevent tooth decay. Although an excess of fluoride is undesirable, fluoride in toothpaste is very effective. Children’s toothpaste is clearly labelled as age appropriate and indicates whether it includes fluoride or not.

As soon as teeth are through they are at risk of decay. This occurs when bacteria feed on carbohydrates, especially sugars, in the mouth to make acid and this attacks the surface enamel. Sugars are present in milk (both breast and formula) and many foods.

Avoid introducing babies and young children to sweet drinks and sweets for as long as possible. What they haven’t tasted, they won’t miss.

  • Read labels carefully for hidden sugars and restrict food with with added sugars to mealtimes only.
  • Ideally your baby should drink only water and milk but, if used, dilute ’baby juices’ and squash with extra water and keep them to mealtimes.
  • Choose sugar free medicines where it is possible.

It is recommended that a baby should be introduced to drinking from a cup from six months, and should be discouraged from using a bottle from the age of one year. Do not allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle and do not use bottles or beakers as comforters since this increases the time to which teeth are exposed to sugars.

In babies, sucking a finger, thumb or dummy causes no long-term harm but if the habit persists to school age - when second teeth begin to come through - the shape of the mouth can be permanently altered. Encourage your child to give up gradually. Never dip a dummy or any type of comforter into syrups or fruit juices.

  • You can register your baby with us as soon as it is born - even before any teeth have come through. NHS dental treatment for children is free.
  • We suggest you bring your baby with you for your routine checkups so that it becomes a normal event and they get used to both our surgery and our staff.
  • We will give you advice on caring for your baby’s teeth and suggest when it is an appropriate stage for your child to begin checkups. This is usually when all 20 baby teeth are through and the child will allow us to examine their mouth briefly.

Treatments?
  • Children Many people’s perception of dentistry is based on their experiences as children.
  • Contact Us If you need any advice or have further questions please call us on 01932-220111 and our friendly staff will be pleased to help