How to look after your baby's teeth

The first year: what to expect

It’s never too early to start thinking about your baby’s dental health. And as soon as your little one’s first milk teeth start appearing, you’ll need to start gently brushing them twice a day with water and age-appropriate toothpaste.

This won’t just help to prevent cavities caused by things like baby bottle tooth decay or the sugars passed on in breast milk – it will also get your baby’s teeth and gums used to the sensation of brushing.

Time to visit the dentist?

We recommend bringing your little one to see us as soon as their first tooth erupts – or by their first birthday at the very latest. After that we’ll arrange to see them once every six months. But the more you can get them used to the new sights, smells and sounds of the practice, the better. It’ll also mean your child is much less likely to develop a dental phobia.

Feel free to pop in whenever you’re passing to make coming into the practice feel less like a big deal. Or, why not bring your little one along whenever you come in for a check-up too?

A small baby sucks on a women's finger as she smiles down at the baby

Teething and brushing baby’s first teeth

Teething can be incredibly uncomfortable and distressing for everyone involved. It can make your baby irritable, fussy and restless at the best of times. If you’re struggling to relieve the pain – it pays to get creative. Chill teething rings in the fridge. Make breastmilk or formula ice lollies. Stock up on a variety of safe things to chew on.

Don’t forget to be especially gentle when the time comes to brush those delicate teeth and gums, too. Specially designed soft-bristled or finger brushes are best, but if you’re ever unsure your dentist will always be more than happy to help you choose the right option for your baby’s smile.

Weaning without the sugar

It sounds obvious. But avoiding foods and drinks that are high in sugar during the weaning process can protect your baby’s delicate milk teeth from harmful cavities.

Sugar isn’t always easy to spot on a long list of ingredients. Keep an eye out for things like fructose, glucose, fruit juice concentrate, syrups and molasses – they are all indicators of high levels of sugar.

While we’re on the subject of weaning diets, don’t forget that getting enough calcium is incredibly important in supporting the growth of strong, healthy teeth too. Ask your health visitor for more tailored advice about calcium sources and supplements to support your little one’s developing teeth and bones.

Advice and inspiration for every stage of childhood

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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