Oral Health

Oral Health contributes to overall health and affects one’s quality of life. Healthy mouth and teeth allow a child to develop proper eating and speaking patterns and contribute to a child’s psychological well-being. A healthy, pain-free mouth is something every child deserves.

Eruption/Teething – Some baby teeth may stay in the mouth until the child is 13 years old.

Primary Teeth (Deciduous Teeth, Baby Teeth, Milk Teeth) – Teething is the natural process when baby teeth break through the gums. Your child’s first baby tooth will come in around six months of age. Your child should have all 20 of their baby teeth by three years of age.  Baby teeth hold the space for the adult (permanent) teeth.

Common Signs of Teething:

  • Drooling
  • Fussiness and irritability
  • Red cheeks and red swollen gums
  • A need to chew on things
  • Mild fever 

You can assist in relieving teething discomfort by offering a cool teething ring that contains only water or a clean, cooled washcloth for the baby to chew on. Avoid over the counter teething gels and ointments. 


Tips for healthy teeth:

  • Avoid putting a baby to bed with a bottle containing milk or juice as this can lead to cavities. If using a bottle at bedtime, fill it only with water. To avoid choking, always supervise your child as they eat and drink.
  • A sippy cup could replace a bottle when children are six months or older.
  • Soothers can lead to dental issues including narrow arches and tooth crowding when used long-term.
  • Offer foods that are healthy, low in sugar and do not stick to teeth. These snacks include cheese, vegetables and fresh fruit. Encourage children to drink only water between meals, preferably fluoridated tap water.


Toothbrushing and Flossing: 


  • Even before a baby starts teething, run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria after feeding.
  • When a baby gets teeth, brush them with an infant toothbrush and water.
  • For children three to six years of age, a rice size amount of toothpaste with fluoride should only be used when they can rinse and spit properly.
  • Help supervise a child brushing his or her teeth until six to eight years of age (or when the child can clean teeth well without assistance).


For more information, see https://www.healthunit.com/dental-health or call your dental office.


Submitted by: Claudia Barrera-Acosta RDH and Natasha Reed RDH, Middlesex-London Health Unit


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