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Big smiles
Key points
  • Bring your baby to us for a check-up when their first tooth appears
  • Start brushing when your child’s first tooth appears
  • Always use a fluoride toothpaste made for young children
  • Try to avoid giving your child a dummy

WHEN SHOULD I START BRUSHING MY BABY’S TEETH?

Before your child’s teeth begin to show, usually around four to six months, you don’t need to brush their gums. However you can clean their gums with a clean wet cloth after feedings to get them used to a dental hygiene routine and to create a clean environment for their new teeth to grow into. Once any of their teeth are showing through you can begin to brush them with a very soft toothbrush.

Important:

If your child has a fever, then consult your doctor. A fever is not a symptom of teething.

Tail

WHY ARE MY CHILD’S GUMS RED?

At around six months, your child will begin teething. Their gums will be red, sore and most likely painful. This is when the first set of teeth will start to become visible.

The most obvious signs of teething are:

  • Increased chewing
  • Swollen gums
  • Red, flushed cheeks
  • Increased dribbling
  • Irritability

Teething is a natural process, but at times it can be really uncomfortable for your child. Here are some of the ways you can help ease your child’s pain:

  • Spend extra time with your child and try to keep them occupied with games and activities.
  • Your child will drool more so it’s important to keep around their mouth clean and dry. A sore chin is the last thing your child needs!
  • Try chilled teething rings. This will help sooth their irritated gums.
  • Your child won’t always be in pain, but, when they are, try applying a sugar-free teething gel directly to their gums.
  • If your child is still in pain, try a sugar-free medicine like Calpol or ​Nurofen for Children.

WILL A DUMMY AFFECT MY BABY’S TEETH?

The British Dental Health Foundation advises against using dummies. The pressure they put on your baby’s mouth can cause their teeth to move. If your baby can’t be soothed without a dummy, try to have them dummy free as young as possible, and never dip their dummy in anything containing sugar, especially before bedtime.

Baby cardboard car

Did you know?

Tooth development is hereditary, so if you got your teeth early, it’s likely that your baby will too!

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO BRUSH MY BABY’S TEETH?

Most parents find sitting their child up, facing away from you, is the easiest position to brush their teeth. Brush in small circular motions focusing where the gum meets the tooth. Remember, when your baby is teething their gums will be very sore so be very gentle.

HOW LONG SHOULD I SPEND BRUSHING THEM?

You should spend around two minutes gently brushing your baby’s teeth. You should brush them every morning and night, with the last brushing being just before bed after their last drink.

Top Tip:

Brush your teeth in front of your child as often as possible. Children love to copy what they see their parents doing, and brushing regularly is a great habit for them to pick up!

tail

CAN I USE REGULAR TOOTHPASTE ON MY BABY’S TEETH?

The toothpaste the rest of the family uses is far too strong for a baby. You can buy toothpastes specifically made for young children, and you should use one that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, and you should look for a toothpaste which contains at least 1,000ppm (parts per million) of fluoride, but no more than 1,350ppm.

WHEN SHOULD I BRING MY BABY ​TO THEIR FIRST DENTIST APPOINTMENT?

You should take your baby along to all of your own dental appointments, which will get them accustomed to the sounds and smells of your dental surgery. You should book your child in for a check-up when their first teeth begin to come through.

Providing NHS Dentistry