Care Guidelines for Your Child’s Tooth Development

Tooth development occurs in children at different rates, but several common patterns have been observed. This interactive Dental Development aid will help you visualize some general patterns. The care your child needs at the different stages of tooth development follows:

Three to four months of age:

  • For some infants, teeth are beginning to break through the gums.
  • Symptoms such as fussiness and drooling indicate that gums may be sore.
  • At this stage, gently wipe your baby’s gums with a soft wet cloth or gauze.

Eight to twelve months of age:

  • Incisors (the front teeth) begin to appear.
  • Gently wipe your baby’s gums with a soft wet cloth or gauze and graduate to a soft toothbrush as the teeth begin to erupt.

Twelve to eighteen months of age:

  • It is best to schedule your child’s first dental exam around 12 months of age.
  • Incisors and canines may still be erupting and the primary (baby) first molars may also begin to erupt.
  • “Early Childhood Caries” is now a risk; make sure your child is not persistently fed “on demand” or put to sleep with milk or sweetened liquids. Encourage your child to drink water between meals as opposed to juice or milk.
  • Clean your child’s teeth and gums twice a day; one of these should follow the final feeding.

 

Eighteen months to three years of age:

  • We recommend regular dental checkups every six months.
  • Most children have all their primary (baby) teeth by age three.
  • Continue to brush your child’s teeth and gums twice a day. Flossing can be introduced as the spacing between the teeth close. Floss once a day.

 

Three to five years of age:

  • We recommend regular dental checkups every six months.
  • Children should have all of their primary teeth.
  • Continue to help with brushing twice a day. Your child may now adopt an “I can do it myself” attitude; make sure you get your “turn”. Floss for your child once a day if spacing between the teeth has closed.

 

Five years and older:

  • We recommend regular dental checkups every six months.
  • Children begin to lose their baby teeth.
  • Permanent teeth begin to erupt.
  • Continue to help with brushing and flossing as you monitor your child’s ability to take control and accept responsibility for their own home care.