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Dental Care for Infants and Children


When should dental care begin?

Most dentists who treat children will agree that regular dental care should begin as early as possible. We recommend that parents should be endeavouring to clean with and for their children until the age of 10 years old. Children under this age lack the correct manual dexterity to clean well for themselves.

Birth to 6 months of age:

  • Clean the infant's mouth with gauze or a moist wash cloth. Bath times is usually an ideal time (before the bathwater gets murky!).
  • No toothpaste is necessary at this time.
  • DO NOT introduce a night time bottle in the cot to help the child go to sleep! This leads to a dangerous situation which can result in severe and quick decay to the erupting teeth.

Six to 12 months of age:

  • During this time, the first tooth should appear. The gauze or wash cloth can still be used.
  • Once the child appears to be very familiar with you using something in their mouth every day, a small-headed, soft bristled toothbrush can be introduced. 
  • You can gradually start introducing very small amounts of tooth paste as teeth start to appear - being careful to encourage the child to spit out this toothpaste - NOT swallow it.
  • As the child begins to walk, stay alert of potential dental and/or facial injuries.

Twelve to 40 months of age:

When your child is comfortable and is no longer fighting you to have their teeth brushed, parents can introduce a pea-size amount of reduced fluoride toothpaste. Children should not be encouraged to swallow toothpaste, however, children cannot be relied on to spit out completely until they are about 5 to 6 years of age - hence, the need for a reduced fluoride toothpaste in these early years.

3.5years of age:

We recommend that their first dental visit occurs around this age. Of course, if you have noticed something before this age do not hesitate to give us a call.

The first visit is more like a dental familiarisation visit. It is the way that we can introduce the dental surroundings and make it a little fun for these special patients. Selina, Darren and all the dentists are caring and gentle.

4.5years of age:

The first check up!

Formal check ups are needed now and every 6 months so that the dentist can monitor the changing situation of the mouth and pinpoint and locate areas which should be addressed now rather than have larger problems later.

Facts about deciduous(baby) teeth:

  • Proper care of a child's deciduous teeth (also known as "baby" or primary teeth) is very important as these teeth hold space for the future eruption of permanent teeth.
  • If a baby tooth decays or is removed too early, the space necessary for the permanent teeth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment.
  • Infected baby teeth can lead to severe pain, facial swellings, food refusal and sleep interruption.
  • Most children begin losing their baby teeth around the age of 6 to 7 - usually the lower front teeth first. They continue to lose baby teeth until the age of 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally come through.

Diet and dental care for children:

Stanhope Dental Centre recommends the following to ensure your child eats correctly to maintain a healthy body and teeth:

  • Ask us to help you assess your child's diet.
  • Shop smart. Do not routinely stock your pantry with sugary or starchy snacks. Buy "fun foods" just for special times.
  • Limit the number of snack times; choose nutritious snacks.
  • Provide a balanced diet, and save foods with sugar or starch for mealtimes.
  • Do not put your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice.
  • If your child chews gum or sips soda, choose those without sugar.