How to establish good oral habits early.

Baby teeth are important for:

  • Eating
  • Proper jaw development
  • Guiding adult teeth in place
  • Speaking clearly

Most baby teeth come around six months, but sometimes earlier and babies can show signs of teething before six months of age. See the chart below for average ages of tooth development.

Chart that shows average ages of tooth development

Coping with teething

A common sign that a new tooth is coming is increased drooling. Teething may cause discomfort, making your baby fussy. Your baby may not want to eat.

  • Give your baby extra love and patience.
  • Allow your baby to chew on a clean, chilled teething ring, teething toy, or clean wet face cloth.
  • Teething gels and ointment are not recommended.

Teething does not cause fevers. If you have any concerns, call 8-1-1 to speak with a nurse or contact your health care provider.

Good dental health starts at birth

  • From birth, even before teeth appear, wipe your baby’s gums daily with a clean, wet cloth.
  • Once baby teeth appear, gently brush your baby’s teeth (once in the morning and after the last evening feeding) with a child’s toothbrush
  • Use a rice grain-sized of fluoride toothpaste. As more teeth appear, gradually increase the amount of toothpaste up to a pea sized amount by the age of 36 months.

Use soothers properly

Some worry soothers can impact tooth development and growth. Here are some soother tips to start healthy dental habits early and prevent tooth decay.

  • Ensure that breastfeeding is well established (no problems breastfeeding and enough milk production, usually around four to six weeks) before introducing a soother.
  • Choose the right size soother for your baby's mouth and make sure it is a one piece design.
  • Check the soother nipple often - throw it away if it is sticky, cracked or torn, or if the nipple is not firmly attached.
  • Sterilize the soother before first use, by boiling it in water for five minutes and let it cool completely.
  • Keep the soother clean.
  • Avoid licking your baby’s soother to clean it, adult mouths can transfer tooth decaying bacteria.
  • Avoid dipping the soother in honey or other sweet substances that can cause tooth decay and are unsafe for young children.
  • Soothers or pacifiers are not recommended once all baby teeth have grown in, usually when your child is about three years of age.
  • Never tie anything to the soother to attach it or hang it from your toddler. It can be a choking hazard. Use a clip with a short ribbon attached instead.
  • Parents can start to wean children off the soother as soon as possible.

Learn more about soothers and tips to wean your child from one.