Parents

It’s important your child begins to learn good oral health habits from an early age. That’s why we’ve created this page with information and tips to help you navigate your child’s oral health and encourage positive routines. There’s also a range of activities designed to help you make the whole process fun.

 

tooth fairy

Letter from the Tooth Fairy

Dear Parents, download a letter to your child from The Tooth Fairy. Simply fill in the form below and click the download button.

tooth fairy
letter from the tooth fairy

Teeth Cleaning Tips

Toothbrush

  • Make sure to always use a soft toothbrush.
  • Electric toothbrushes are preferable as these are more effective than manual ones.
  • Finding a toothbrush in their favourite colour or with a character on it may make them more engaged in the whole process.

parents_one-02-01

Toothpaste

  • Up until the age of six, use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste.
  • Most major brands have low fluoride options that are also low foam and not too minty.
  • Once they are six, you can begin using regular adult fluoride toothpaste.

cleaning teeth tips

Cleaning

  • You may find it easiest to stand behind your child and tilt their head back gently.
  • When you’re brushing the inner and outer sides of the teeth and gums, brush in gentle circles.
  • Make sure you clean both the inner and outer sides of the teeth and gums.
    On the tops of their teeth, brush back and forwards to remove any food from the chewing services.
  • The last step should be to gently brush their tongue, then encourage them to spit out the toothpaste.
  • There’s no need to rinse after they’ve finished, as the little fluoride left behind will help protect their teeth.
  • Most children can start cleaning their own teeth from the age of 7. However, an adult should still check to ensure the teeth have been cleaned properly by looking to ensure all food and plaque has been removed. You should also check for signs of calculus and tooth decay.

brushing kids teeth

Flossing

  • Children don’t develop the manual dexterity needed to floss until about the age of 10, so you’ll need to floss their teeth for them until then.
  • Flossing each night before bed will help prevent cavities from developing between their teeth.

flossing kids teeth

How To Make Teeth Cleaning Fun

  • You can pick a song your child loves that lasts around 2 minutes and tell them they have to brush until it ends. Afterwards you can dance and sing and make the focus on fun, rather than oral hygiene.
  • Buy your child a toothbrush with their favourite character, or in their favourite colour. Some have flashing lights which may add to the fun.
  • Keep a reward chart where each child gets a star every time they finish brushing their teeth.
  • Make different, funny noises for cleaning the different surfaces, or perhaps the different jaws upper and lower.
  • Include the entire family when brushing teeth in the morning and at night.

Teeth Timeline

This timeline gives a rough guide of when you can expect your baby’s teeth to appear and when they will begin to fall out to make way for their permanent adult teeth.
If your baby isn’t following this timeline don’t panic – some children won’t sprout a tooth until after their first birthday. It’s still always a good idea though to mention it to your doctor or dentist so they can monitor it.

Baby

4-7 Months: In these early months, your baby will begin teething. Their gums may appear red and swollen where the teeth are cutting through. The first teeth to erupt are usually the low central incisors, the two middle teeth on the bottom jaw.
8-12 Months: The central incisors, the front two teeth at the top, begin to emerge.
9-16 Months: The lateral incisors on both the top and bottom will begin coming through. These are located right next to the front teeth.

teething baby teeth

 Toddler

13-19 Months: The first molars on both the top and the bottom come in around the same time.
16-23 Months: During these months, you can expect to see the canine or cuspid teeth to emerge on both the lower and upper jaw. These are the sharp pointed teeth that are used to tear food.
23-31 Months: The second molars on the bottom jaw will be the next to appear. These are the very back teeth and the last baby teeth on the bottom that need to come through.

toddler teeth

Pre-Schooler

25-33 Months: Finally, the second molars on the top jaw will work there way through.
3 Years: By the age of 3, your child should have a full set of 20 baby teeth, also known as primary teeth.
4 Years: The jaw and facial bones will continue to grow so that when their permanent teeth begin to come in, there’s enough space to accommodate them.

pre school teeth

Big Kid

6-7 Years: Your child will start to loose their baby teeth. The first ones to fall out will be the front center teeth on the bottom jaw, followed by those on the top.
7-8 Years: Lateral Incisor
9-12 Years: During these years, the rest of the teeth will fall out, usually beginning with the lower canine teeth, the upper canine teeth and then the first and second molars. Its common for the second molar on the bottom to be the last to fall out.
12 Years: By now, your child should have a complete set of 28 permanent, adult teeth. There will be four more teeth to make their way through, the wisdom teeth, but these don’t usually start to appear until they’re at least 17, and some won’t ever come through.

ss-kids-august-2016-36-of-63-2-edited-01

First Visit to the Dentist

When your child turns 3 you should book an appointment for them with a dental therapist. At this visit your child’s baby teeth will be counted and polished with a soft brush. They may even want to watch you having your teeth cleaned too. It’s important for this introductory visit to be fun, educational and a happy experience as it will help your child approach the dentist with little or no anxiety in their later years.

Having studied for a Bachelor of Oral Health, dental therapists are specifically trained to work with children and are skilled in helping your child to feel comfortable visiting their dentist.

One of their roles is to teach and motivate children about looking after their teeth, as well as to help educate adults in preventative care.

Working with pre-school, primary and secondary school children under the supervision of dentists, they also perform procedures such as examinations, X-rays, cleaning and polishing, filling of cavities, and applying sealants to pits and fissures.

The therapist will refer any complex dental matters to an appropriate general dentist, or even a child specialist (also known as a specialist paedodontist or specialist paediatric dentist). Child specialists, like all Dental Board registered specialists, have completed university training in addition to their bachelor degree in general dentistry.

If you would like to book your child in for an appointment with one of our dental therapists, click here.

To help prepare your child, you can watch the Tooth Fairy Video with them, which will help give them an idea of what will happen when they visit the dentist. It’s also a good idea to take your child to your own dental check up appointments so they become familiar with the environment and can see that it’s a positive experience for you.

therapist-harrison-01

Teething & Baby Teeth FAQs

Teething usually starts at about 6 months but can be as early as 3 months or as late as 14 months

A total of twenty baby teeth should all be through by 3 and half years of age.

Parents should start cleaning their toddler’s teeth as soon as they come through. Initially a small soft brush or even a face washer can be used for children under 2 years.

In their first few months, your baby will begin teething as their teeth come in. Along with their gums appearing red and swollen at the site when the teeth are erupting, there a few other symptoms that may indicate the teething process is underway. These include drooling, irritability, flushed cheeks, trying to bite or chew everything they can, difficulty sleeping, rubbing their face and turning away food.

In some cases, a bluish bump may form on the gum. This is an eruption cyst and they usually disappear on their own when the tooth breaks through the gum. If they persist for more than a few weeks, please consult your dentist as they may need to assist by making a small incision for the tooth to come through.

There are a few ways you can manage the teething process, both medicinal and natural:

  • Rub a clean finger over your baby’s sore gums as this will temporarily relieve the pain.
  • Give your baby a teething ring
  • Let them chew on a clean, damp face cloth that’s been chilled in the fridge.
  • Apply a teething gel
  • You can give your baby infant paracetamol (if they are one month or older) or ibuprofen (if they are three months or older). Check the dosage information on the packet and always ask your doctor or pharmacist beforehand.
  • If they use a dummy, chewing on the teat may help soothe them.

Adult Teeth FAQs

While every child varies, most will start losing their teeth from around ages 4 to 6, with girls tending to lose their teeth earlier than boys.

A child’s baby teeth usually fall out in the same order they came in. That means the lower centre teeth (lower centre incisors) are usually the first to go, followed by the top front teeth.

Whilst the age children begin losing their teeth can vary between the ages of 4 to 7, if your child does begin to lose teeth before 4, we recommend you consult a dentist to ensure there is no underlying problem. It’s also possible for a child to reach age 7 or 8 without losing any baby teeth at all. Again, there’s probably nothing wrong, but it never hurts to check in with your child’s dentist to make sure.

Check out our Teeth Timeline below, or download our handy tooth loss chart that lets you know when to expect the various teeth to fall out and helps you track your child’s progress.

  • Limit the intake of sugary foods that your child eats. Sugars weaken the enamel on teeth, making the teeth vulnerable to decay. Encourage your child to eat foods high in calcium, whole grains, fibres and fruits by cutting these foods into fun shapes.
  • As your child gets older, find out which healthy ingredients they like and regularly incorporate these into their lunchboxes and dinners.
  • Make teeth cleaning fun by buying a toothbrush with their favourite character on it or in their favourite colour, or keep a reward chart where each child gets a star every time they’ve finished brushing their teeth.
  • Most children do not have the manual dexterity to brush teeth properly until they reach the age of seven, so help them clean their teeth twice a day and floss before they go to bed.

Frequently Asked Questions

A fissure seal or sealant is a thin plastic coating that is placed on the back molars to prevent bacteria from getting into hard to reach crevices and causing cavities. It is a safe and pain free way of protecting your child’s teeth from tooth decay.

If your dental therapist considers your child to be at high risk of decay, they may recommend sealing as a preventative measure.

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends you first see a board-registered specialist orthodontists when the first of the adult teeth begin appearing, which is usually around the age of 6 to 7 years. This is when developmental problems can first appear that can threaten the functionality and therefore health of the teeth. A proactive approach to treatment can often shorten and simplify any orthodontic treatment required later, and can sometimes eradicate the need for treatment altogether. Conditions that are often treated in early childhood include severe overcrowding, jaw growth problems, cross bites, problems with tooth eruption. Your therapist, dentist or paedodontist will be able to recommend whether an orthodontic consult is necessary.

A baby tooth typically doesn’t loosen until the permanent tooth below pushes it up to take its place. But it is possible for kids to lose a baby tooth before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, especially because of an accident or dental disease. When this happens, the adjacent teeth may drift into the space left, meaning there is insufficient space for alignment of the upcoming adult tooth. In some cases, a paediatric dentist or specialist orthodontist will advise that a custom fit plastic place holder is inserted until the adult tooth is ready to emerge. Spacers can be fixed or removable depending on the individual case.

The less sugar your child eats, the better, but there will always be special occasions where they’ll eat treats. It’s best to consume any sweets in one intake after meal times only, rather than having them graze or snack on sweet foods throughout the day. Rinsing with water after they’ve finished will help remove any residual sugar and chewing sugar free gum will help clean the teeth.

  • Limit the intake of sugary foods that your child eats. Sugars weaken the enamel on teeth, making the teeth vulnerable to decay. Encourage your child to eat foods high in calcium, whole grains, fibres and fruits by cutting these foods into fun shapes.
  • As your child gets older, find out which healthy ingredients they like and regularly incorporate these into their lunchboxes and dinners.
  • Make teeth cleaning fun by buying a toothbrush with their favourite character on it or in their favourite colour, or keep a reward chart where each child gets a star every time they’ve finished brushing their teeth.
  • Most children do not have the manual dexterity to brush teeth properly until they reach the age of seven, so help them clean their teeth twice a day and floss before they go to bed.
  • Include the entire family when brushing teeth in the morning and at night so you can lead by example and show your child teeth cleaning is a normal, everyday activity.

Ask your dental therapist for the relevant item codes, then contact your health insurance provider for the rebates. Depending on the level of cover, your child’s visit could be fully covered by your heath insurance. If your child is eligible under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule, the cost of their visit may also be completely covered. Eligibility requirements and what is covered can be found here.

Remember, no two children’s mouths are the same. The contents here are of a general nature only and if you have any concerns about your child, it’s always advisable to seek dental advice that is specific to your child.

What to do with a Knocked Out or Chipped Tooth

Knocked Out Tooth Emergency

For active children of any age there are a number of situations in which a tooth can be knocked out or chipped.

When a child presents with a missing or chipped tooth, a normal reaction is to panic. Fortunately though, it is possible to save the tooth if you act quickly.

Smile Solutions has created a handy guide outlining the steps that should be followed to help avoid any permanent consequences of having teeth knocked out or chipped. Download and have it handy incase there is an unavoidable emergency and you need to reference its contents!