Healthy Mouth

How can I keep my mouth healthy?
Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the first primary, or baby teeth, erupt through the gums.
All 20 of the primary teeth usually appear by age 3, although their pace and order of eruption varies.
Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6.
This process will continue until approximately age 21.

Oral health for children

To help ensure oral health and a lifetime of good oral care habits:

- Limit children’s sugar intake

- Make sure children get enough fluoride, either through drinking water or as a treatment at the dentist’s office

- Teach children how to brush and floss correctly

- Supervise brushing sessions and help with flossing, which can be a challenge for small hands

Major obstacles to children’s oral health


“Baby bottle tooth decay”

- Wipe gums with gauze or a clean washcloth and water after feeding.

When teeth appear, brush daily with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste

- Put child to bed with a bottle of water, not milk or juice

Thumb sucking

- Not a concern until about 4 years of age or when permanent teeth appear; after this time, it could cause dental changes

White spots on teeth

- As soon as the first tooth appears (at about 6 months), begin cleaning child’s teeth daily and schedule a dental appointment


Fear of the dentist

- Hold the child in the parent’s lap during the exam
Difficulty creating an oral care routine

- Involve the whole family-brush together at the same time each day to create a good habit


Love of sweets

- Give children healthy snack options, like carrots, raisins, and yogurt
Stains from antibiotics

- Speak to the pediatrician before any medication is prescribed


- Make sure that teens brush well around braces, using a floss threader to remove all food particles

Oral accidents from sports

- Encourage children to wear mouth guards during sports