Childrens dental care

Cleaning children's teeth

  • Start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as they come through using a clean cloth or a small, soft toothbrush
  • clean your baby’s teeth twice a day – each morning and before bed at night
  • Use a small soft toothbrush to clean your child’s teeth and gums
  • children under 8 years old will need some help brushing their teeth.

Using fluoride toothpaste

  • you do not need to use toothpaste until your baby is 18 months old
  • for children aged 18 months to five years, use a pea sized amount of low fluoride children’s toothpaste
  • for children aged 6 years up, use a pea sized amount of adult fluoride toothpaste
  • encourage your child to child to spit toothpaste out – but don’t rinse.

Tips to stop your child from getting tooth decay

  • breast milk is best. If you are not breast feeding use infant formula
  • if your baby has a dummy, do not put anything sweet on it
  • clean your baby’s dummy under running water, not in your mouth
  • put your baby to bed without a bottle
  • do not put anything sweet in baby’s bottle or cup.

If you are bottle feeding

  • take the bottle way when your child has finished feeding
  • baby should stop using the bottle by 1 year of age.

Food and drinks

Look for foods that are good for young teeth:

  • choose healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables, plain yoghurt and cheese
  • plain tap water is the best drink
  • avoid soft drinks, energy drinks, flavoured milk and cordial
  • limit juices
  • reduce sweet biscuits, ice cream and cakes
  • where possible, choose sugar free medicines

Lift the lip

  • lift your baby’s top lip once a month to look for early signs of decay
  • white lines along the gum line can be the beginning of tooth decay
  • if identified early, the progress of decay can be prevented
  • please seek dental advice if you notice any changes in your baby’s teeth
  • you can make an appointment for your child from 12 months of age, check the SA Dental Service clinic list (PDF 43KB) to find your closest clinic

Baby tooth eruption chart

  • if your baby has teething pain, baby can suck on a clean, cold wet cloth or teething ring
  • where possible, choose sugar free medicines
  • ask your dental professional for further advice

Show how and what baby teeth come through

This is a guide only, times and order vary



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