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Oral Health for Infants and Toddlers

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Oral Health for Infants and Toddlers

2 min read


To maintain the oral health of your kid, some common mistakes we make during the dentition period can easily be avoided. This article deals with some best practices to maintain oral hygiene.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Preetha. J

Published At December 31, 2018
Reviewed AtAugust 2, 2023


Teething is the process of eruption of teeth from the gums. Usually, it starts from the age of 6 months and goes up to 3 years. Sometimes, the process starts before 6 months of age.

Kids have two sets of teeth:

  1. Primary teeth/ Baby teeth/ Milk teeth.
  2. Permanent teeth.

There are four types of teeth:

  1. Incisors.
  2. Canines.
  3. Premolars.
  4. Molars.

Usually, the lower two teeth erupt first and then the upper two teeth erupt on the opposite arch. By the age of 3 years, kids have 20 teeth, 10 on each jaw.

By the age of 12 to 14 years, the primary teeth get replaced by permanent teeth which are 32 in number.

Teething Symptoms

Teething is a painful process for most kids. During this phase, kids have many complaints like:

As babies have irritation in their gums, they tend to put everything in the mouth which results in stomach problems.

How to Avoid These Complaints?

You can massage the baby's gums with honey.

You can give them hard food like frozen carrot, radish, cucumber, etc. to chew as it provides soothing relief. Monitor them closely to avoid choking.

You can alternately give a wooden teether or a soft silicone teether.

Wash toys with warm water to prevent germs and dust from going inside when kids put toys in their mouth.

Keep their nails trimmed.

The playing area should always be neat and clean.

Wipe the gums after breastfeeding to avoid caries in the future (especially during night feeds).

Clean the mouth after every meal by giving little water to drink.

Do not give junk food, especially that which has processed sugar in it, because it may cause dental caries.

Brush the teeth with a finger brush twice a day after the teeth erupt.

After the age of 2 years, you should start brushing using a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Clean their tongue to avoid oral infection as food deposits lead to dental caries.

Brush teeth twice a day.

How to Encourage Your Child to Brush?

Give a small reward for each brushing session.

Brush your teeth together as a family.

Gift them a new attractive toothbrush.

Let him/ her brush their toys while you brush their teeth.

Allow them to choose the flavor of the toothpaste.

Appreciate him/ her for brushing.

Allowing them to brush your teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to Promote Oral Health Care in Infants and Toddlers?

- Breastfeed the child always.
- Do not let the baby sleep with a bottle in his mouth.
- Make the baby drink water after every feed.
- Wipe his gum pads with a soft cotton cloth after every feed.
- For toddlers, brush their teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste twice daily.
- Avoid sweet drinks, chips, and chocolates for kids.


What Is Meant by Infant Oral Health Care?

Infant oral health care refers to the health of the gum pads, tongue, and entire oral mucosa in infants. After 6 months of age, it is important to take care of the milk teeth also. If neglected, it can lead to dental caries and other oral problems in infants.


Why Is Oral Health Care Important for Children?

Healthy teeth and gums are very important for the overall health and development of the child. Teeth help the child to eat and talk properly. Good oral health care helps to inculcate good oral hygiene in the child and boosts his self-confidence. Poor oral health care can lead to dental caries, other oral infections, gum diseases, and bad mouth odor which may hinder his overall growth and development.


How to Maintain Oral Hygiene in Infants?

In infants, it is important to clean the gum pads after every feed. Do not bottle-feed the child for the whole night. Between 6 to 9  months, when the first tooth erupts in the baby’s mouth, it is important to introduce brushing to the child. Practicing good oral hygiene reduces the chances of tooth decay.


What Is Considered Good Oral Hygiene in Children?

Children should brush their teeth twice a day using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste and an ultra soft bristles toothbrush. The brushing technique for children should be a big circular motion. The child should be made to visit a dentist at least twice a year to get their teeth examined.


How to Clean Teeth in a Toddler?

- Stand behind your kid.
- Hold the child's chin in your hands.
- The bristles of the toothbrush should be angled towards the gum.
- Move the toothbrush in a circular motion.
- The inner and outer surfaces of their teeth should be thoroughly brushed along with the gums.
- The tongue should also be cleaned.


Why Is Oral Health a Priority in Children?

- Poor oral hygiene can increase the access of bacteria in the bloodstream thereby increasing the risk of other systemic diseases.
- Good oral health care can strengthen the immunity of the child.
- Good oral hygiene can boost self-esteem in children.
- Good oral care can set good dental habits in the children as they grow up


What Are the Causes of Poor Oral Health?

Oral diseases or infections can be caused by various risk factors such as excessive sugar consumption, tobacco use, eating sticky food like chips, alcohol use, sweet drinks, and poor oral hygiene.


How to Clean Your Baby’s Teeth Naturally?

- Use a biodegradable gauze or soft cotton cloth to wipe their gum pads.
- Organic toothpaste should be used for the baby.
- The toothbrush should be small so that it fits in their mouth with ultra-soft bristles.
- Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for the child.
Dr. Sheetal Nanji Dama
Dr. Sheetal Nanji Dama



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