Welcome to the Mother & Baby section of our website (0-2 years old).

This section has been designed to provide information on the most frequently discussed topics regarding babies and toddlers teeth.

We hope it answers your questions, but if you have any further concerns about your baby's teeth be sure to ask your Dentist at your next appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click the questions below to see our answers but if your question isn't answered then don't hesitate to email info@543dentalcentre.co.uk or call 01482 565488

When will my baby's teeth start to come through?

Babies teeth begin to erupt around the age of 6 months, but your baby may show signs of teething earlier than this. From about 3 months of age you may notice he/she dribbles more than usual and has a tendency to put things in their mouth. Other signs of teething are red cheeks and a raise in temperature which can sometimes make them irritable and unsettled.

Try giving your baby something to chew on like a teething ring which has been in the fridge. The coldness helps to relieve the symptoms, but never put the teething ring in the freezer as it can cause freezer burns to your baby's gums.

no spill cup

It's also a good idea to use a toothbrush as a teething aid as it massages the gums and also gets your baby used to the feel of a toothbrush in their mouth in preparation for brushing. Never leave your baby unsupervised with a toothbrush!

If your baby has a temperature, depending upon on their age you can use analgesics such as paracetamol suspension. Only give your baby the stated dose. If you are unsure if you should give your baby analgesics or your baby has had a temperature and has been unwell for more than 24 hours consult your Doctor or Health Visitor for further advice.

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I think my baby needs more than just milk to drink, is it okay to give her baby juice?

Quite often as parents we worry about how much fluid our babies drink especially in hot weather. If you are breast feeding your baby, they will be getting all the fluids they need as breast milk is food and drink rolled into one!

If you are bottle feeding you may need to give your baby extra fluids as bottle fed babies can sometimes become constipated. Use cooled boiled water. Never add sugar to the water as this can have the opposite effect and may lead your baby to have diarrhoea. If used frequently it can also cause tooth decay and your baby may develop a liking for sweetened drinks.

There are numerous baby juices available in the supermarkets, all claiming to be vital to health and very misleading. The truth is the only drinks which are healthy for teeth are milk and water. The vast majority of baby drinks contain sugar and acid. Even the herbal juices are harmful to teeth. On average 125ml of made up baby juice contains 4 teaspoons of sugar!

Look at the list below and see how much sugar is in the average 125ml of drink.

  • Blackcurrant cordial 6 teaspoons
  • Apple juice 5 teaspoons
  • Apple and rosehip 5 teaspoons
  • Orange and camomile 5 teaspoons
  • Pear and peach 4 teaspoons
  • Apple and blackcurrant 4 teaspoons
  • Apple and orange 3 teaspoons
  • Summer fruit 2 teaspoons
  • Drinking chocolate 2 teaspoons

Never give anything other than milk or water in a baby's feeding bottle.

Introduce a free flowing feeding cup to your child from around the age of 4 months. It may take several attempts for your baby to master the art of drinking from a cup as it will feel totally different to a teat or a nipple, but persevere.

free flowing cup

If you do give juice to your baby, always use a free flowing cup and only give at meal times. This will help to reduce the risk of bottle caries which is a condition where the upper front teeth decay as a result of constantly being in contact with sugary drinks. Never let your baby fall to sleep drinking juice!

Try to avoid “No spill” cups as these encourage frequent use and can also have a negative impact on your baby's speech development due to the intense sucking action and the position of the tongue needed to open the valve inside which releases the fluid.

no spill cup
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When should I take my baby for the first time to see the Dentist?

Babies should be seen by a dentist as soon as their first tooth appears and definitely before their first birthday.

Ideally you should take them along when you go to see the dentist for a check-up as they will get used to the surroundings before the time comes for them to have their own teeth checked.

The dentist may suggest your baby sits on your knee whilst they have a look at their teeth. Visits to the denist should be a fun experience for children as this helps to prevent the onset of a dental phobia. All too often dentists see very young children for their first visit when they already have tooth decay and are in pain.

If your baby/toddler refuses to let the dentist have a look at their teeth, don't worry. It is quite normal for young children to behave in this way especially when it's something new to them. Never restrain your child in the dental chair as this will frighten them and may make any future treatment impossible to carry out.

Stay calm and take them back again on another day when they will probably feel happier about letting the dentist have a look and will be more compliant.

It is important your baby visits the dentist regularly-every six months unless you are advised otherwise.

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Is it okay to give my baby a dummy?

If you feel your baby needs a dummy to settle them it's fine! In years gone by some Midwives would frown upon mums who gave their babies a dummy. Thankfully things have changed!

However, there are a few golden rules to remember when using dummies:

  • Make sure it is sterilised correctly.
  • Never dip it in anything, for example honey, sugar or juice as these encourage tooth decay.
  • Only use it as a pacifier (to get your baby to sleep or to comfort them).
  • Don't allow your baby/toddler to use it all day as it may affect the positioning of teeth when they start to come through, preventing the upper and lower jaws from meeting correctly.
  • Always remove it when your toddler is talking as speech is very often affected in children who are allowed to speak whilst the dummy is still in their mouth.
  • Children from the ages of 3-4 years should be discouraged from using a dummy at this stage in their development as it may cause problems with the positioning of their adult teeth when they start to come through increasing the need for braces in their teens.

Dentistry for Mums-to-Be

Click each heading below to view more info but if your question isn't answered then don't hesitate to email info@543dentalcentre.co.uk or call 01482 565488

Free dental care during pregnancy

Did you know that if you’re an NHS patient your routine dental care is FREE during pregnancy and for 12 months following giving birth? The reason for this is that pregnant women have special dental needs, so be sure to make an appointment for a check-up early in your pregnancy. and also remember to come in with your baby before his/her first birthday.

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Pregnancy Gingivitis

Your dental health can change during pregnancy. Many mums-to-be experience bleeding gums which is also known as pregnancy gingivitis. This is due to the hormonal changes in your body. This increase in hormones can make your gums inflamed if plaque is allowed to accumulate on them, resulting in bleeding gums.

It is important you continue to brush your gums thoroughly despite the bleeding. Try using a softer toothbrush and ensure you use a toothpaste which contains fluoride.

Once you have had your baby and your hormone levels begin to return to normal, your bleeding gums will subside, but it is important to visit the Dentist during pregnancy to ensure there are no other underlying issues with your dental health.

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Morning Sickness

It is very common for ladies to suffer from morning sickness, especially during the first trimester. Try to avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after you have vomited as your teeth will be covered in stomach acids and the brushing action may cause damage to the enamel on your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with plain water will help to take away the taste until enough time has elapsed when you can then brush your teeth.

Many ladies feel they are unable to brush their teeth, particularly the back ones as it makes them retch, especially in the morning. To help to reduce this gag reflex, try using a smaller toothbrush, perhaps one suitable for a small child and brush at a time of day when you feel less nauseous. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, but remember to try to brush every night before you go to bed.

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Cravings

A high percentage of pregnant ladies admit to having cravings at some point during their pregnancy. Some have been known to eat coal! However, the majority seem to crave sweet foods. Obviously these sugar containing foods are harmful to teeth and may increase your risk of tooth decay if eaten between meals. It is a common belief that a baby takes calcium from a mother’s teeth whilst she is pregnant resulting in tooth decay or tooth loss. This old wives tale is totally untrue. In reality, many ladies have an increase in their sugar consumption during pregnancy as a result of cravings. Add this to the inability to brush teeth effectively due to morning sickness and you have the perfect conditions for tooth decay to occur!

To help to reduce your risk of tooth decay during pregnancy keep sweet foods and drinks to meal times and try to snack on healthier foods in between meals. Increase your calcium intake. Pregnant ladies require 2-3 portions of calcium per day for example 200ml milk, a portion of cheese or a yogurt.

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Smoking and alcohol during pregnancy

We all know the health risks related to smoking and alcohol intake, but during pregnancy your social habits can have a negative effect on your unborn baby.

Smoking and drinking whist you are pregnant can lead to an underweight baby and may also affect your baby’s dental health. Studies have shown that an underweight baby has a greater risk of having poor teeth due to a deficiency in the enamel formation. Your baby’s teeth start to develop at around 12 weeks after conception. If you look carefully at your 20 week scan photo you may be able to see the tiny tooth buds. It is important for your baby’s health that you do not smoke or drink more than the recommended number of units of alcohol for during your pregnancy.

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Ultrasound scan at 20 weeks gestation.

If you would like help to stop smoking or need advice on the recommended levels of alcohol, speak to your Midwife who will be able to offer support.

You are entitled to free NHS dental treatment whilst you are pregnant and until your baby is one year old.

Remember it is important to visit a dentist during your pregnancy. If you have not seen a dentist since your pregnancy was confirmed or you have any concerns, make an appointment at your local dental practice today!

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