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Cornelscourt Kids

We believe that creating good oral hygiene habits from a young age is very important. We recommend that you start to bring your child to the dentist when they have most of their baby teeth (2-3 years old). This way we can familiarise your child with the environment in the practice and help avoid any fears that may come later in childhood. Our team are happy to help with nervous children and give them a little tour of the dental chair.

Why are baby teeth important?

Although many people might think that baby teeth are not important because they fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth, a child’s first set of teeth are crucial for healthy development. Primary teeth, or baby teeth, are needed for obvious reasons such as for speech, chewing and appearance. In addition, they are needed to guide the permanent adult teeth, which are developing underneath, into the correct position. If a baby tooth gets a bad knock or has decay, this can cause long term damage to the adult tooth. For these reasons, we advise vigilant care of your child’s teeth and dental cleaning.


What are the signs of teething? What is normal?

  • Drooling
  • Chewing on solid objects
  • Irritability or crankiness
  • Sore or tender gums
  • Rosy cheeks

When will my baby’s teeth come in?

For most children, the first teeth will come through when they are between 6 and 12 months old. Girls tend to have their teeth come in before boys do. The first tooth to be seen is usually the middle, front tooth on the lower jaw (central incisor). The last teeth to come in are usually the canines (pointed teeth). Usually, about one tooth erupts per month. Most children will have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3 years old.

What can I do if my baby has sore gums?

Teething can be painful and some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing you baby’s gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or wet gauze pad can be soothing. Cold refrigerated teething rings can also help. If you find your child is still cranky, in severe pain, or experiencing symptoms such as diarrhoea or fever seek further medical advice from your GP. We do not recommend the use of the product “Bonjela” as it contains choline salicylate (like aspirin) which can damage the gums.

How do I care for my baby’s new teeth?

Long before any teeth are seen in the mouth, it is a good idea to run a clean, damp, washcloth over your baby’s gums everyday. This will help to stop bacteria from building up.

Once the first teeth appear, you can begin using a small soft-bristled toothbrush with water or a very small amount of non-fluoride toothpaste.

How do baby bottles affect my baby’s teeth?

Baby bottles can be a problem as they keep the liquid in the mouth for long periods of time, especially if your baby uses it as a soother. Ideally, make sure that your child does not sleep with a bottle in his/her mouth. If you do give your baby a bottle at night, only water should be used as even milk can lead to decay (caries). Only place formula, breast milk or water inside baby bottles and always avoid sugary beverages such as fruit juices or fizzy drinks. By the time your child has reached his/her first birthday, discontinue all bottle feeding and encourage your child to drink from a cup.



In terms of at-home care, a regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for dental health as tooth decay can occur even in very young children. It is important that up to the age of 2 years, non-fluoride based toothpastes or water alone are used with an adult doing the brushing (see the Dental Health Foundation guidelines).

You may not know that at birth, your child has already started to develop their adult front teeth, deep in the dental bone. Thus, it is important to avoid white spots known as fluorosis on the developing teeth. While fluoride is very important in strengthening teeth, too much in childhood can lead to these irreversible marks. After 2 years, child-friendly toothpastes (minimum 1000 ppm fluoride) and soft tooth brushes are recommended.

Brush your child’s teeth for at least two minutes twice a day. It is a good idea to continue to do most of the brushing for them as they are rarely able to reach and clean all of the teeth. Use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste and encourage them to spit out any excess. Continue to supervise and assist with your child’s brushing until they are about 7 or 8 years old.

Falls and Accidents

As toddlers are learning to walk and run, they are naturally very clumsy. This can result in falls and accidents that could damage their teeth. If your child receives a blow to the face or mouth, it is important not to panic and to understand that accidents are often a natural part of growing up.

If a tooth is damaged, be sure to make an appointment with us immediately so that we can assess if any treatment is needed. 

In the meantime…

  • Avoid letting your child eat or drink in the area.
  • If there is swelling, apply a cold compress to the area.
  • If there is bleeding, apply light pressure with damp gauze or cotton wool.
  • If a tooth is loose, do not attempt to pull it out but leave it in the mouth until your child can be seen by the dentist.
  • For a knocked-out tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your child’s cheek and gum, or in milk. Do not excessively rinse the tooth, as the tissue that clings to it is very easily damaged.

For more information on what to do after a fall or accident, refer to our page on dental emergencies.

Thumb Sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex. Infants and toddlers may suck on thumbs, fingers, soothers and other objects, most often to calm themselves. Most children stop sucking by 4 years of age. If your child continues to suck their thumb after his/her permanent teeth have come in, it may cause problems with tooth alignment and bite depending on the frequency, duration and intensity of the habit. This could lead to the child having a bucked-tooth appearance which may require braces. If you are worried about your child’s sucking habits, feel free to speak to our team and we may be able to offer some helpful advice.

Young Children

Tooth decay can occur even at a very young age and so a good diet and cleaning routine is crucial. In addition, helping your child form healthy habits early in life, can prevent many oral health problems in the future.

Preventing Tooth Decay in Childhood


  1. From 2-7 years use a small pea size amount of child-friendly fluoride toothpaste (minimum of 1000 ppm fluoride). Use a gentle scrub technique involving very short horizontal movements.
  2. Parents of children under the age of 7 should brush their child’s teeth until they are able to do so properly themselves. Children should be encouraged to spit and not rinse after brushing so that the effects of fluoride toothpaste are not diluted.
  3. Brush twice a day – just before bedtime and at one other time during the day, usually in the morning 20 minutes after breakfast.


Some of the food that can cause tooth decay and should be avoided or limited may include:

Sugary sticky foods and drinks such as:

  • Sweets and chocolate
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Pastries and puddings
  • Sugary breakfast cereals
  • Honey and jams
  • Ice cream
  • Tinned fruit in syrup
  • Sauces (eg. Ketchup)
  • Fizzy drinks and energy drinks
  • Cordials and squashes
  • Sports drinks

Healthy meal and snack options that should be encouraged may include:

  • Cheese
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Sandwiches
  • Fruit
  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Water

Natural fruit juices can be a good source of vitamins in the diet; however, they should be taken with meals for two reasons:

  1. The frequent consumption of these can lead to enamel erosion due to their acidic content
  2. Juice, even pure juices, contain sugars that can cause decay (caries)

Fissure Sealants

We recommend fissure sealants for children who are at risk of decay. These are a fast, straightforward, and painless way to help prevent tooth decay. They are a type of varnish which seals the chewing surface of the back molars to cover deep pits and grooves where bacteria tend to collect. The sealants are clear or white in colour and because they are on the back teeth, they are not usually visible. Your child will still need to brush his/her teeth regularly; nevertheless, the sealed surfaces will be much easier to clean.

Education is a primary goal at Cornelscourt Dental. Following a full dental examination, you may be recommended to attend an oral health education session with your hygienist. Here you will receive tailor-made advice on maintaining optimal oral health for your family. Family-friendly topics include brushing, inter-dental cleaning and diet advice. We offer both one-on-one and family sessions.

Any questions?

We are experienced and sympathetic in dealing with each patient’s anxieties and pride ourselves on developing a personal relationship with our patients.

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