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Teeth are a wonderful marker of your child’s progress in life.  Your child’s journey begins with teething in early infancy, progresses into the loss of baby teeth during childhood, and then advances into adulthood with the eruption of wisdom teeth. Teeth are a bittersweet way of knowing that your child is growing up.

To help you understand your child’s teeth better, here’s a timeline of when a child’s teeth start to appear and when they fall out. Keep in mind that this timeline is only general and will not fit all children. Some children won’t get their first tooth until after their first birthday. Don’t worry, as this is normal. Some babies are even born with their first teeth!



  • Birth. It’s a misconception that babies are born without teeth. The full set of twenty baby teeth are already there at birth, in the jaw. They just haven’t erupted yet.
  • 4-7 months. The baby’s first teeth erupt around this age. These teeth are usually the two bottom incisors. Teething can be uncomfortable for a baby, and she might chew plastic toys to alleviate their discomfort. Other signs of teething are dribbling a lot, flushed cheeks and crying. To soothe your teething baby, try giving them teething rings. These rings are made of plastic or wood and your baby will find comfort from chewing on them. Some rings can even go in the fridge before use – babies especially enjoying chewing on cold teething rings.
  • 8-12 months. The upper incisors usually appear around this time.
  • 9-16 months. At this age, the lower and lateral incisors (the teeth next to the middle teeth) appear.



  • 13-19 months. After your baby’s first birthday, the first molars usually appear! These teeth are large and flat, which makes them ideal for chewing and grinding food. If your child still hasn’t shown any sign of sprouting teeth yet, let your doctor know. Chances are that it’s entirely normal – some children don’t start teething until months after their first birthday.
  • 23-31 months. Around the time of the child’s second birthday, the bottom second molars appear.
  • 25-33 months. Just after the child’s second birthday, the top second molars come through.
  • 3 years. By three years of age, your child will have a full set of baby teeth!



  • 6-7 years. At this age, your child is becoming more independent and capable. Another sign of their growing maturity is that she begins to lose their baby teeth, which are quickly replaced by their permanent adult teeth. The first teeth to go are usually the incisors.
  • 7-8 years. The baby lower and lateral incisors are the next to go.
  • 9-12 years. Finally, the baby molars fall out and the adult molars come through. At this point, your child will no longer have any baby teeth left – they will all be adult teeth.



  • 17-21 years. At the age of eighteen, your child is officially an adult – don’t they grow up so fast? Another thing that happens around this age is that your child’s wisdom teeth will come through. This doesn’t mean they actually have wisdom though – it’s your job to give them that.


Parenting isn’t easy. Not only do parents have to think about their children’s education, future and happiness, they also have to worry about their children’s diets. Is fruit juice healthy? What about full-fat milk? There’s lots of information about what children should drink, which is why we’ve condensed it all down for you into two simple lists. So here’s our lists of what children can drink and what they should avoid.


Drinks to give

  • Water. The best drink for children is plain water. Water is pH neutral and helps to wash away leftover food in their mouths. As an added bonus, tap water is fluorated in some parts of the UK.
  • Milk. Another great drink for children is milk. Milk is high in calcium, which kids need for strong teeth. It’s also high in protein, which is just what children need to grow. However, keep in mind that babies should be at least twelve months old before you give them cow’s milk. Also, full-fat milk is better for young children than semi-skimmed milk because it’s more nutritious. Here’s a rough guideline of the best ages to give children milk:
    • 0-1 year – breast milk and formula
    • 1-2 years – full-fat milk
    • 2 and older – semi-skimmed milk
    • 5 and older skimmed milk


What to avoid

  • Pop. This should be obvious, but don’t give fizzy drinks to children. Many fizzy drinks are high in sugar, which increases the risk of cavities. And what’s not so obvious is that sugar-free pop isn’t good for teeth either. They contain acids that erode enamel.
  • Juice. You might think that fruit juice is healthy. After all, it’s high in vitamins and minerals, right? However, juice is also high in sugar (even unsweetened juices). What’s more, juice erodes enamel due to its acidity. Therefore it’s best to limit your child’s juice intake to just one small glass per day.
  • Bedtime drinks. Who doesn’t have fond childhood memories of drinking a milkshake before bedtime? Unfortunately though our parents were misguided, because the best thing to give to children at night is plain water. This is because our saliva production slows down at night and it’s when our teeth are most at risk. If you do give milk to your kids at night, then don’t add anything to it. That means no milkshake or hot chocolate.
  • Sippy cups. Sippy cups are a popular choice with parents of young children because they’re spill-proof. If your toddler knocks the cup over, then there’s no worries. However, we don’t recommend sippy cups because children have to suck the cup to get the liquid out. Sucking is bad because it forces your child to drink for longer, which in turn prolongs the amount of time the drink is in contact with your child’s teeth. Free-flow feeder cups are much better because the liquid flow is unrestricted.
  • Bottles after the age of one. Bottles have the same problem as sippy cups. Bottles require babies to suck for a prolonged amount of time, which means the drink is in contact with your babies’ teeth for a long time. For this reason, babies should begin to switch from a bottle to a free-flow feeder cup at the age of six months and ideally, babies should be completely off the bottle by the age of one.


Two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered with it, it’s essential for life and it makes up 60{f3cbf6ee4c2bf74284ff645d919e2d7444bc2ff84a9815f68a7ec3cea6db0d23} of the human body. We’re of course talking about water. But did you know that water is also one of the best things you drink for healthy teeth? Read on to learn the reasons why water is so good for our dental health.


Water decreases acidity in the mouth

When we eat acidic foods like lemons and cranberries, our mouths become more acidic. This is bad for our teeth because acidity damages enamel, which is the protective outer layer of our teeth.

Conversely, water helps restore the pH balance in our mouths by neutralising the acidity. This is good for our teeth because the best environment for our teeth is a neutral one.


Water cleans your mouth

The act of drinking water washes away any food left over in the mouth and helps prevents plaque. Of course, other drinks help wash away food too, such as juice, pop and sports drinks. However, these drinks contain sugar whereas water doesn’t. Furthermore, some of these drinks also contain acids (such as citric acid and malic acid) which damage enamel. So, when it comes to a natural mouthwash, water is the way to go.


Water prevents dry mouth

Saliva is a great natural defence for your teeth: it kills bacteria, neutralises acids and washes away foods. That’s why it’s important to avoid dehydration. When we get dehydrated, our body slows down its saliva production to conserve its water supplies. So, drink plenty of water to ensure there’s a healthy amount of saliva in your mouth.


Fluoridated water strengthens teeth

Depending on where you live in the UK, your tap water might be artificially fluoridated. The places where fluoridated water is most common are Birmingham, Staffordshire and Dudley .

If your water is fluoridated, that’s great news because studies show that fluoridated water decreases the risk of cavities. The process by which fluoride does this is known as ‘remineralisation’. This is where fluoride assists the rebuilding of calcium and phosphate ions onto the surface of teeth. Fluoride also helps prevent demineralisation, which is where calcium and phosphate ions are lost from the surface of teeth.


Water doesn’t stain your teeth

No-one likes having yellow or brown teeth, but this is what happens when you regularly drink tea and coffee. This is because tea and coffee contain staining pigments known as tannins. While stains aren’t harmful, they do detract from the appearance of your teeth. Water, on the other hand, never leaves a stain. So that’s just one more reason why water is the best choice of drink for your teeth.



Water really is the best drink for good health. So, if you have frequent problems with your teeth, consider drinking less juice, sports drinks and soft drinks and more water.

But remember that watching what you drink is only a part of a healthy dental hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily are also vital for the good health of your teeth.


Tooth decay has emerged as the “leading cause of child hospital admissions”, the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed.

Every day, 160 children and teenagers in England have tooth extractions while under general anesthetic in hospital, according to the LGA.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has commented that these hospital admissions could be avoided as tooth decay is entirely preventable.

Dr Ben Atkins, a spokesperson for the BDA, told The Huffington Post UK about a six-year-old patient who had to have 13 teeth taken out while under general anaesthetic.

“It does break your heart when you think it is an easily preventable disease,” he told HuffPost UK.

“We investigated what happened and what had caused the holes and it was mainly fruit juice. She wouldn’t drink any water.

“As a parent you understand that, but I have a three- and five-year-old and in my house it’s milk or water.”

Atkins said he comes across some parents who put sugar in children’s milk to get them to drink it and don’t understand the damage it’s doing.

“That six-year-old was drinking cola, too, and smoothies. She was having sugar solution constantly in her mouth.”

However, according to Atkins this little girl is proof that it is never too late to start instilling healthy habits.

“Now she’s 13 and her adult teeth are spotless,” he said. “She brushes her teeth twice a day, reduced the frequency of sugary drinks just to mealtimes and has water in between.

“She’s one of the success stories, she’s so proud of her teeth now.”

So what can parents do to keep their children’s teeth healthy?

The BDA offered the following five tips:

Take your child to the dentist as soon as their teeth start to emerge, if not by one year. It means that any problems can be picked up and treated early.
Foods containing sugar should be kept to a minimum and are best given at mealtimes.
Children should be assisted to brush their teeth as soon as they erupt/ appear.
Brush teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Kids should be encouraged to spit out excess toothpaste and not rinse with water after brushing.
Supervise children brushing their teeth until they are seven.
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Fizzy water is damaging our teeth as its acidity wears down enamel, an expert warns.

Sparkling water is more acidic than the plain version of the beverage, which is made worse by its common inclusion of additives, according to Dr Edmond Hewlett from the UCLA School of Dentistry.

Drinking fizzy water causes a chemical reaction that produces carbonic acid and gives the drink its distinctive ‘crisp’ taste, however, that same substance may also seriously damage our dental health.

Fizzy water-drinkers should be particularly careful not to swish it around their mouths when drinking.

Yet, those with a high saliva flow may be able to get away with drinking the beverage more often.

Additives make fizzy water worse

Dr Hewlett said: ‘The dental safety of sparkling water is not a heavily researched area.

‘What we do know, however, is that many commonly consumed beverages (for example, waters, juices, sodas and sports drinks) are, to varying degrees, acidic, as measured by their pH.’

Acidic drinks are known to erode enamel, yet according to Dr Hewlett the additives put into fizzy water may make the problem worse.

Saliva flow may be protective

Dr André Ritter, chair of the department of operative dentistry at the University of North Carolina, added: ‘If you’re sipping and keeping that acidic drink in your mouth and swishing around every time you sip, and if you do this often, multiple times a day, then that’s probably the most dangerous kind of behavior when it comes to tooth wear.

‘If you’re healthy and if you have normal saliva flow, you’re less vulnerable so your risk is lower, you can possibly drink a little bit more, more often.’

Ritter added fizzy water is still a better option than other soft drinks, however, plain mineral water is the safest choice when it comes to dental health.

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There are many changes that come along with aging. Hearing and vision problems are among the most common ones. But while taking care of one aspect of your health, you may be ignoring some very important changes taking place elsewhere – in your mouth, for example.

Your oral health is very prone to age-related changes which, if left unattended, could be setting you up for some serious health problems.

6 things to know about your teeth as you’re aging

Your oral health is linked to heart disease: It may not be obvious, but what goes on in your mouth can impact your heart. Numerous studies have pointed to the fact that gum disease may trigger heart disease. This is because the low grade inflammation in your mouth can contribute to plaque formation within the arteries. This inflammation also increases your risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and some forms of arthritis.

You should avoid dry mouth: Saliva plays a crucial role in the remineralization process in your mouth which helps keep your teeth strong and healthy. Dry mouth is a common side effect in seniors taking many different medications. Unfortunately, this condition puts you at risk for tooth decay as well as other oral health issues. To combat this, it’s advised that seniors increase their water intake and use a nighttime rinse.

Invest in a good toothbrush: With many muscle, bone, and joint problems seniors face, brushing teeth with a traditional toothbrush can be a challenge. It is recommended that seniors opt for an electric toothbrush to ensure proper care for their teeth and gums.

Increase fluoride: Using a fluoride toothpaste is much more effective for protecting teeth and gums than using a fluoride mouthwash alone.

Be mindful of your diet: What you eat can play a big role in your oral health. Seniors often don’t get enough calcium or vitamin D, which are necessary to keep teeth strong. Aside from monitoring your calcium and vitamin D intake, it’s also important to reduce your sugar consumption as it increases the risk of cavities and rotting teeth.

Go see your dentist: Regardless of whether you have dentures or not, you should be seeing a dentist regularly as they can spot changes in your oral health early on before complications arise. Your dentist can ensure that your dentures are fitting properly and check for oral cancer signs, too.
As you can see, proper oral care is essential for healthy aging. By following these recommendations, you can keep your teeth and gums strong.

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Keeping on top of your oral hygiene should be at the top of your agenda. Here are 10 ways to make sure your mouth stays healthy.

1. Pro Brushing

Brush your teeth twice daily, in the morning and evening (at least). Plaque takes 12 hours to deposit on the teeth surfaces and transform into bacteria, which can attack your enamel or harden into tartar. Top tip: try to hold your toothbrush pointing towards the gum line using circular motions.

2. Keep your mouth in check

Go to the dentist at least twice a year for a check-up. This will allow your dentist to notify you of problems such as decay and gum disease.

3. Go electric

Buy an electric toothbrush and use it for 2 minutes, it has been proven that it removes much more plaque and food debris than the manual one. Make sure you can use it at a low speed so it doesn’t damage the gums. Top tip: a tooth brush head should be changed every three months.

4. Flaws in your flossing

Floss or use inter-proximal brushes in between teeth at least once daily as the food or bacteria get first deposited in between teeth and more likely to develop inter-proximal decays or gum inflammation. Top tip: wrap the floss around your index fingers, use a new piece of the floss for each tooth and floss against the tooth to avoid damaging the gums.

5. Improve your technique

Minimise the amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush: dry cleaning has been proven to be more effective than when using a lot of toothpaste as the mechanical effective movement of removing plaque is dramatically reduced when we feel the mouth fresh using a toothpaste .

6. Don’t forget your tongue

Make sure you clean your tongue as well as many bacteria colonise its surface giving bad breath. Top tip: you can buy special tongue cleaners or simply use a spoon upside down.

7. Stop smoking

Smoking will not only stain your teeth but it also reduces the blood supply to the gums and causes/aggravates gum disease, it can also lead to oral cancer.

8. Can the fizzy drinks

Stay away from acid fizzy drinks as they will erode your enamel and make it more exposed to bacteria. Top tip: try water instead you can always add citrus fruit to the mix.

9. Bye, bye sugar

Reduce sugars in your diet, especially honey or spreadable chocolate or sticky sweets which will go in between teeth and very difficult to brush them off, sugar is the major culprit for tooth decay.

10. Healthy foods

Eat plenty of vegetables like carrots or celery or greens which will naturally brush your teeth and cleanse the surfaces.

Dr Nina Bal DBS (Hons) is a dental surgeon specialising in cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics.

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