Nothing can dampen the excitement of seeing those first teeth emerge and quite apart from bringing your baby’s smile to life, they will provide a guide for the position of the second teeth, and so on.

Your baby shouldn’t need a dental check up until around the age of two when most, or all, of their teeth are in place, but you should start caring for your baby’s teeth immediately to ensure they stay strong and healthy. This is important because the first teeth affect early speech development, the ability to eat a solid diet, and of course their overall appearance.

Brushing should begin straight away as plaque begins to form as soon as the first tooth appears. Plaque coats the teeth with a thin film of bacteria which thrive on the sugars in our foods and drink so it is important to start also thinking carefully about your baby’s diet and routine.

  • Make sure your baby doesn’t have a sugary drink at night (or even milk) after they’ve brushed their teeth;
  • Avoid baby foods sweetened with added sugar or concentrated fruit juice;
  • Don’t add sugar to home prepared weaning foods;
  • Sweetened fruit juices and squashes should not be given in babies bottles, as they contribute to decay and encourage a ‘sweet tooth’;
  • Never dip a dummy into anything sweet. The phrase ‘no artificial preservatives or sweeteners’ can mean that sugar is still present in the product;
  • Offer foods with plenty of calcium, vitamins and minerals to encourage healthy teeth to form;
  • Avoid or limit giving your baby sweet or sugary drinks and opt for sugar free medicines.

You should start cleaning their teeth twice a day as soon as the first tooth appears. Use baby toothpaste and a specially designed toothbrush that has a small head, soft bristles and, ideally for you, an easy grip handle!