Parents’ Guide to Caring for Your Kids’ Teeth
From the day you see their very first milk tooth, taking care of your little one’s teeth can feel like a big responsibility. But just like looking after your own teeth, a consistent oral hygiene routine and healthy mouth habits can help ensure your kids’ teeth stay strong and healthy throughout every stage of their development. Read on to discover our top tips for caring for your kids’ teeth, from babies to toddlers and beyond.
What Order Will My Baby’s Teeth Grow?
Before we get into caring for your kids’ teeth. You may be wondering when your little one will start teething and in what order your baby’s teeth will grow. Every child is different, and while there is no definitive guide, a teething chart for toddlers and babies can help you understand how their first teeth usually emerge:
- 5 to 7 months old: the bottom incisors (bottom front teeth) are usually the first to appear.
- 6 to 8 months old: the top incisors (top front teeth) will start to show.
- 9 to 11 months old: the top lateral incisors (either side of the top front teeth) will begin to come through.
- 10 to 12 months old: the bottom lateral incisors (either side of the bottom front teeth) will grow.
- 12 to 16 months old: the first molars (back teeth) should develop.
- 16 to 20 months old: the canines (towards the back of the mouth) will begin to appear.
- 20 to 30 months old: the second molars are usually the last of your child’s teeth to appear.
This is often the order your baby’s teeth will grow. So, you can expect your child to have most of their milk teeth by the time they reach two to three years old.
Milk Teeth: Why They Need Extra Care
Milk teeth are the first set of teeth that babies grow, which usually start coming through at around 6 to 12 months old. Though they may seem tough, the enamel on these precious little gnashers is thinner than on adult teeth.iv Unfortunately, this makes children more susceptible to tooth decay from sugary foodsi. But with a good diet and regular brushing, you can make sure your kids’ teeth get the care they need.
Around this time, your baby will start eating foods other than breast milk or formula. This is an exciting step, but also important to think about how certain foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay. Try to avoid giving them anything high in sugar at this early stage. Then at bedtime, after brushing with a kids’ toothpaste, stick to water as sugars can turn into acids that can eat away at their teeth during the night.
Brushing Tips for Tiny Teeth: All Stages of Development
So, now you know when and how your kids’ teeth will grow, but how can you ensure you’re caring for them throughout every stage of their development?
0 to 3 Years Old
- Once their first tooth has made its way through, it’s time to start a brushing routine with your child. You can sit them on your lap so it’s easier to get to their mouth (and stop them wriggling).
- Kids under three should only use a smear of kids’ toothpaste, moving onto a pea-sized amount when they’re over three years oldii. Choosing a specially developed kid’s toothpaste like Aquafresh Milk Teeth or Aquafresh Little Teeth will help ensure their teeth are protected, and they have child-friendly flavours designed to help make brush time easier.
- Once that first tooth comes through, it’s time to book a visit to the dentist. Regular check-ups will help make sure everything is growing the way it should. And as tooth decay in children can happen faster with milk teeth, it will give your dentist the chance to spot any possible problems before any damage is done.
3 to 6 Years Old
- By age three, a complete set of milk teeth should be in place, helping shape their mouth for permanent teeth and even guiding them into position. Still, it will be a while yet until any of these precious milk teeth begin to fall out, and their permanent teeth appear. Keeping this first set healthy is key to paving the way for their permanent teeth to come through straight and to stay strong once they do.
- Once your baby becomes a toddler, they might want to try brushing their teeth themselves. If you’re comfortable, feel free to let them have a go. You can also show them how you brush your teeth so that they get the hang of things.
- To start teeth brushing, get your child to move their kids’ toothbrush in small circular motions, making sure they cover every tooth and spit the toothpaste out afterwards. There is no need to rinse out with water as this will wash away the essential fluoride.
- You can make your brushing routine more engaging with one of our Little Teeth kids’ toothbrushes. Specially designed for tiny hands and in a range of cute and fun animal designs, your toddler will love brushing in no time.
For more handy tips and tricks to make brushing fun for your children, click here.
7 + Years Old
- Around age five or six, your child’s permanent teeth will start to come through – causing their 20 milk teeth to fall out one by one and be replaced with much larger and stronger adult teeth. Brushing during this time can be tricky, which is why using products specifically for children (such as a kids’ toothpaste and toothbrush) is recommended to help make brushing easier.
- Once they have a full set of teeth, the basic advice is always the same: brush twice a day for at least two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste containing no less than 1,000ppm of fluoride or family toothpaste containing between 1,350ppm and 1,500ppm fluoride for the best protectioni.
- After brushing, encourage them to spit, not rinse. That way, more of the fluoride from the toothpaste stays in the mouth where it can continue to protect their teeth. Always supervise your child while they brush and don’t allow them to swallow any toothpaste.
Remember: a healthy mouth starts at home with you. If you help your kids get into good eating and brushing habits early on, their tiny teeth will turn into a sparkling smile down the road. For more information on caring for your children’s teeth throughout their development, visit our information page here.