Dental Care for babies and children

A baby’s teeth need to be to be cared for with regular brushing as soon as they develop.

First teeth
Babies start to develop their teeth when they are growing in the womb (uterus). The first teeth, also known as milk teeth or deciduous teeth, begin to emerge through the gums at around six months of age. This process is known as teething.

Most children will have their full set of first teeth by the time they are around two-and-a-half years old. A full set of first teeth contains 20 teeth in total.

Adult teeth
As children get older, their permanent adult teeth will start to appear. Adults can have up to 32 permanent teeth.

Permanent teeth develop in the jaw. They press on the roots of the first teeth and dissolve them so that the first tooth falls out and the adult tooth can come through. This process is called exfoliation and usually begins at around six years of age.

Children usually have most of their permanent teeth by the time they are 13 years of age. However, the wisdom teeth, which are at the back of the mouth in the upper and lower arches, develop in the late teens and early 20s.

A permanent tooth that is damaged or has to be removed will never grow back. This is why it is very important that children are taught how to take care of their teeth from an early age.

Caring for your child's teeth
Your baby’s teeth can be affected by tooth decay straight away, so start cleaning their teeth with a children’s toothpaste as soon as they appear. See 'Tips for parents' to find out how to do this.

Getting your child into a good oral health routine at a young age will ensure they continue to have good oral health when they are older. Speak to your dentist if you have any concerns about the development of your child's teeth or their general oral health.