One of the most frequent things we get asked about as family doctors is children and their teeth, so we thought it best to do a question and answer post, answering the common questions we get asked.
Question: What age should my baby get teeth?
Answer: The average age we would except a new born to get teeth is anywhere between 6-12 months. However it is not uncommon to have babies as young as 4 month getting teeth and as old as 14 months without them. Rest assured how many people do you know without teeth? Your kid will get them at the right time.
Question: My baby is teething and they are in pain, what can I do?
Answer: The honest truth is that sometimes its very hard to work out whether your bub is actually in pain or not.
However there are many things you can do to comfort your little one if you feel that they are in pain.
Common over the counter medications such as bonjela and sm33 gel seem to be the rave at the moment. However in my opinion I am not sure why parents forget a simple dose of paracetamol if they are concerned that their baby is in pain. It is probably much more effective and lasts longer than both those topical agents.
Question: When should I start brushing my babies teeth?
Answer: Teeth brushing at such a young age is more about instilling good habits than actually thoroughly cleaning teeth.
Start by acquainting your little one with a toothbrush, this may mean letting them watch you brush your teeth, brushing their dolls teeth, playing with toothbrushes in bath time etc.
Toothpaste below the age of two has its hazards and you should only use a smidge of low fluoride toothpaste to brush your babies teeth. Using a damp cloth may be an effective alternative to wipe your babies teeth early on.
Between the ages of 2-7 the Childrens Hospital in Westmead recommend only a pea sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste.
Avoiding sugary drinks before bedtime is also encouraged.
Question: When should my child start seeing the dentist?
Answer: In our experience most dentists are happy to see children over the age of 2.
The advice provided on healthykid.com.au is of a general nature and in no way should replace your therapeutic relationship with your doctor