Teething and first teeth - Better Lives Healthy Futures

Teething and first teeth

Age group:
Your baby’s teeth begin to come through at around the age of six months, but from three months onwards you will notice signs of teething

When your baby starts to teethe, you will see signs like red cheeks, sore red gums, them putting their hands and objects into their mouth, or dribbling more than usual.

To help your baby with their teething, try gently massaging their gums with a clean finger. A teething ring can be soothing too.

If your baby dribbles excessively it can lead to their chin, neck and chest becoming chapped or sore. Dribble bibs can be used to stop your baby’s clothes getting wet and can be used to dab the chin/mouth area to stop them staying wet. Change any wet clothing and apply a simple barrier cream to keep the skin soft and smooth.

Once your baby’s first teeth appear, it is important to protect them against decay so that their adult teeth have a chance to fully develop before they come through.

It is never too early to start caring for your baby’s teeth. Start brushing as soon as the first tooth breaks through. Be sure to take your baby to the dentist before the age of one and then for regular dental checks as advised by your dentist.

Top tips for caring for your baby’s first teeth

Breast feeding provides the best nutrition for babies.

From six months of age, introduce drinking from a free-flow cup and from age one year discourage feeding from a bottle.

Sugar should not be added to weaning foods or drinks.

Once your baby is eating solid foods, choose healthy and nutritious foods and drinks, keeping sugary food and drinks to a minimum as sugar is the main cause of tooth decay.

As soon as teeth erupt in your baby’s mouth, brush them twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Brush last thing at night and on one other occasion. Use toothpaste containing at least 1000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride and use only a smear of toothpaste.

Use sugar-free medicines.

blue-bird green-bird orange-bird pink-bird

Further information

Growing up with healthy teeth

This video from Henry.org looks at what we can do to help our children grow up with healthy teeth.

Guide to children’s teeth

This downloadable leaflet from the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry brings together all the basic advice and information you might need about children’s oral health.

Looking after children’s teeth

This downloadable leaflet from the Institute of Health Visiting offers detailed information and tips for parents.

Oral health for babies: birth to three years old

Childsmile (from NHS Scotland) provides a range of oral health advice accessed via their website.

Sweets, fizzy drinks and bottles

The NHS website has important information on establishing good habits to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.

Healthier drinks for kids

The NHS Change4Life website has simple tips and easy drink swaps to help you cut the amount of sugar children receive in drinks.

Fun first foods

An easy guide from Childsmile (NHS Scotland) to introducing solid foods.

Related topics

Introducing solid foods (weaning)

You can begin to give your baby food and drinks, other than milk, from six months old.
Age group:

Visiting the dentist

NHS dental treatment for children is free for children under 18
Age group:

Oral Health service

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust's Oral Health team offers a range of programmes including fluoride varnish applications and a toothbrushing programme delivered in primary and special schools.
Age group: