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Child's Healthcare Topics..

You are here : home > Child's Healthcare > Keeping your child healthy > Dental Care for Young Children

Dental Care for Young Children

How can you ensure that your child grows up with strong and healthy teeth? Read on to find out.

Young children are entirely dependent on their parents for their health and well-being. In fact, the care their parents provide when they are young often forms the foundation for the health that individuals enjoy when they grow up. This is as true for teeth as for all other aspects of health.

Baby teeth

Most babies have their first teeth emerge around the age of six months. However, this varies greatly, and while some do not have any teeth until they are a year old, others may be born with one or even more teeth.

By around two and a half years of age, most babies will generally have all their 20 primary, or 'milk', teeth. From the age of six, these will gradually start to be completely replaced by permanent teeth.


Teething is often a trying time for babies, and consequently, also for their parents. As new teeth erupt, they cut through the baby's tender gums. As a result, the gums may often become sore. This is understandably painful for babies who are known to become quite irritable at this time.

Babies who are teething often exhibit signs such as the continuous dribbling of saliva from their lips. They may show an increased tendency to gnaw or bite objects. The irritation in their jaws may even make them restless and interfere with their sleeping patterns. Again, individual cases differ, and while some babies sail through this phase with hardly a hitch, for others it is a long and painful process.

Teething has popularly been associated with health issues such as fever or diarrhoea, though this has not been medically proven yet. Parents need to guard against ignoring or underplaying any such symptoms as being inevitable results of teething.

These are some of the things that you can do to help your baby during teething:

  • The discomfort associated with teething might make babies anxious and restless. Holding your baby close and soothing her with kind words is important at this time.

  • You can help your baby cope with the pain of teething by gently rubbing her gums or dabbing them with a wad of cotton dipped in cold water.

  • Babies who are teething often display an insatiable urge to chew on things to soothe the irritation in their gums. You can give your baby teething rings, which are specially made to indulge this urge. Refrigerating the rings to make them quite cold will help soothe sore gums better.

  • Give your baby cold and soft things, such as chilled curd or mashed fruit, to eat.

  • You could rub a teething gel on the gums to help soothe the pain. However, as teething gels contain local anaesthetic, it is important that you speak to your doctor about using them first.

  • Homoeopathic remedies are another solution to soothe the pain of teething.

General dental care for babies and young children

It is important to make dental hygiene practices a part of your child's daily routine. Not only will this keep her growing teeth and gums healthy and free from disease, but this will also establish a good habit for the future.

  • Establish brushing as a daily routine as soon as your child gets her first teeth. It is good practice to brush them twice a day, in the morning, and before she goes to bed at night.

  • Gradually teach your child to brush her own teeth, but be there to supervise her at all times.

  • Teach your baby to spit out the toothpaste after brushing. At least until your child learns to do this, use a fluoride-free toothpaste that is meant for infants.

  • Ensure that your child eats a healthy diet. Include plenty of calcium-rich foods such as milk and cheese; calcium plays an important role in fortifying the teeth and bones.

  • Sugar intake affects the acid level in the mouth, making teeth more vulnerable for about half an hour. Brushing teeth half an hour after a sugary treat helps to protect the teeth better. Also, ration the amount of sugar in your child's diet.

  • Encourage your child to develop a taste for healthy and natural snacks such as fruits and nuts, instead of sugary and starchy foods. One way to do this is to set an example yourself.

  • Ensure that your child has regular dental check ups

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Nimit.4 years ago
As kids grow, plan on routine dental checkups anywhere from once every 3 months to once a year, depending on the dentist's recommendations. Limiting intake of sugary foods and regular brushing and flossing all contribute to a child's dental health.
Siddesh.5 years ago
Contrary to popular belief, milk should be taken well care of as they are precursors of permanent teeth. Tooth decay in milk teeth may cause damage to the permanent teeth.
Kunal.8 years ago
I appreciate your post. Many good points are made and I plan to follow many of them. I have a very adequate Dental Plan , but I still would like to take care of my child's tooth-care myself. At what age is it appropriate to start regular checkups?
Kunal.8 years ago
I appreciate your post. Many good points are made and I plan to follow many of them. I have a very adequate Dental Plan , but I still would like to take care of my child's tooth-care myself. At what age is it appropriate to start regular checkups?
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