A Parent's Guide to Their Children's Teeth

| Pregnancy & Parenting

You're baby's teeth are very important. Encouraging mouth hygiene from an early age will help to set your kids up for good dental health for the rest of their lives. It's important to make sure you are caring for their mouths before they're able to do it on their own, and then showing them how once they're old enough. Just because baby teeth are not permanent, doesn't mean they aren't important, according to Dental Care and Byrum Dentistry. Make sure you are passing down healthy habits and avoiding infant tooth decay by following this timeline.

brushing teeth

Birth to 6 months:

  • The baby’s front teeth are forming below the gums and are almost ready to erupt into the mouth.
  • Clean you babies gums with a damp washcloth every day.
  • Wipe mouth off after nursing with a damp cloth.
  • Never sweeten a pacifier with sugar or honey.

7 to 12 months:

  • The front teeth or incisors are usually starting to erupt into the mouth and there permanent teeth are starting to form underneath the gums.
  • Continue to wipe the gums off with a washcloth and if teeth are starting to erupt, use the smallest baby toothbrush you can find, but do not use anything that contains fluoride.
  • Do not put the baby to bed with drinks could cause tooth decay from their lingering sugars.
  • Start introducing a small, soft bristled tooth brush as soon as your baby has teeth.

13-24 months:

  • Primary or baby tooth molars are starting to erupt into the mouth and may cause some discomfort.
  • You can start to introduce fluoride toothpaste but should make sure your child can spit it out and not swallow it.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft nylon bristles.
  • The amount of toothpaste should be smaller than the size of a small green pea.
  • Only plain water in sippy cup.
  • Brush your kid’s teeth at least twice a day.

2-5 Years old:

  • By 5 years of age, the roots of the front baby teeth are starting to dissolve to make room for the permanent teeth.
  • You can let your child brush their teeth but you still need to be the primary brusher.
  • Remember to floss the child’s teeth where they are touching.
  • Floss using a flossier to make it easier to remove food and debris in between teeth.
  • After your child brushes their teeth, remember nothing else to eat or drink except plain water before bedtime.
  • Replace tooth brush once a season.
  • A rotary toothbrush may encourage your child to brush.
  • It’s important to set a good example for your children, so make sure your child should see the dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.
  • Offer healthy snacks that are low in sugar.  A diet with less sugar decreases the opportunity for cavities to occur.

6-7 years old:

  • Around this age, the first permanent teeth start to erupt, which are usually the incisors or the six-year molars.
  • Your child should gradually become the primary brusher, but still check afterwards.
  • Floss your child’s teeth where two teeth touch.
  • Lightly brush your child’s tongue to remove bacteria.
  • Your child should see the dentist two times a year for a check up and professional dental cleaning.

8-10 years old:

  • Permanent teeth in the front of the mouth move into place and primary teeth towards the back of the mouth begin to fall out.
  • If your child brushes alone, check his or her teeth afterward.
  • Floss your child's teeth where two teeth touch.
  • Your child may start flossing around age 9, but may not be able to floss back teeth properly.
  • Set a good example by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist two times a year for a check up and professional cleaning.

11-12 years old:

  • Primary teeth finish falling out as permanent teeth continue to erupt.
  • Your child should be brushing and flossing their teeth two times a day in their own.
  • Set a good example by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist twice a year for an examination.
  • Talk to your child about the consequences of poor oral hygiene - stained teeth, bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Encourage good nutrition; don't keep junk food around the house.
  • Encourage your teen to talk to his or her dentist or hygienist about brushing and flossing.
  • Offer healthy snacks to your child, such as fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.
  • Avoid sugary snacks.

13-15 years old:

  • Permanent teeth are moving into place.  The wisdom teeth are preparing to erupt into the mouth.
  • Set a good example by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist twice a year for an examination.
  • Talk to your teen about the consequences of poor oral hygiene - stained teeth, bad breath and gum disease.
  • Buy plenty of oral health-care supplies and keep them readily available for your teen to use.
  • Provide your teen with information about the consequences of smoking and using smokeless tobacco.
  • Take your child to the dentist for an examination at least twice a year.