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Baby and Toddler Dental Care

Little girl wearing pink hoodWe recommend that your child’s first dental appointment be scheduled by their second birthday. Strong and healthy teeth are necessary to speak, chew food and show off a happy smile. The baby teeth are there to reserve the jaw space needed for adult teeth. If a baby loses teeth early, neighbouring teeth can begin to drift into the gap, and there may not be enough space for adult teeth to erupt. That’s why your child’s oral health should be checked starting early in life.

At Blockhouse Bay Dental Centre, we provide dental care and advice for children of all ages. Below, you can find some helpful information on tooth-related issues common in childhood.

Teething Troubles

If you think your baby is teething, they might have red cheeks, a rash on their cheeks, increased drooling, have a loss of appetite or seem irritable and restless. You can let your child chew on a hard, cold object like a teething ring. They might like you to massage their gums with a clean finger. You can buy teething gels at the chemist to help their discomfort.

We don’t recommend that you buy teething biscuits as they’re high in sugar and promote tooth decay.

Your Child’s First Teeth

The first teeth to erupt are usually the bottom two, which occurs when a child is 6-8 months of age. The four in the upper front will follow. Teeth will then appear periodically, generally in pairs, until a child is about 2.5 years. By then, the full 20 baby teeth will likely have come in. The permanent teeth that begin to erupt around age 5-6 might replace some of the baby teeth.

Though baby teeth will be lost eventually, they must be protected with a healthy diet and oral hygiene habits. By starting these habits early, your child will have good oral health for life.

Children and Thumb Sucking

Many children suck on their fingers or thumbs. If their habit continues beyond age 4, their teeth can develop crookedly, the roof of their mouth may become malformed and their jaws can be misaligned, which can result in speech defects.

You can suggest your child take up a dummy to substitute for their thumb or finger. Though dummy use can lead to issues, it can be removed from the child. They may also be teased if they enter school and are still using a dummy. Gentle discouragement or reminders like a bandage applied to the thumb can be all they need. Praise and rewards can be used on successful days.

You should try to see gradual improvement. For example, your child could be encouraged to stop sucking during story time or television time. Keep adding an activity until the daytime sucking is under control. A sock, glove or thumb and finger guard can help them cease sucking during the night. We can support you if these efforts are unsuccessful.

Tooth Decay in Infants and Children

Baby bottle tooth decay is when tooth decay occurs in infants and children. It’s caused by the child having sweetened liquids like juice, milk and formula that sticks to their teeth. You should try not to have your child fall asleep with a bottle for naps or at nighttime. Instead, they could have a bottle filled with water. Other tips include to wipe baby’s gums after a feeding, begin brushing teeth when their first tooth erupts.

If your water supply doesn’t contain fluoride, ask us for tips on how to make sure your child gets what they need to prevent tooth decay.

Want to Learn More?

We’ll make sure that your child shows off a bright, beautiful smile. Contact us today to book an appointment! Saturday hours are available.


Baby and Toddler Dental Care Blockhouse Bay | 09 627 9970

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