Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Dental care for children

It is very important that children learn from a young age how to look after their teeth and gums. Here's how:

  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day, using small circular motions. Their teeth should be cleaned after eating and before bed using toothpaste with fluoride that is suitable for children, which can help to strengthen the outside of the teeth and prevent decay.
  • Try to get into a regular tooth brushing routine, and give your child plenty of praise when they brush their teeth well.
  • Replace toothbrushes or toothbrush heads every three months.
  • You should supervise, or help children with their tooth brushing, until they are at least seven years old.
  • When they start brushing by themselves, check every few days to make sure they are doing it properly.
  • Make sure your child has dental check-ups twice a year. Find your nearest dentist in the National Health Services Directory.
  • Ensure your child eats a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Try to keep sweet foods and drinks to mealtimes.
  • As your child's adult teeth grow through, you should make your dentist aware of any misalignment of the teeth or jaw. They will advise if corrective treatment is required.

Dental care for babies

Many babies begin teething at around three months old, with the first teeth usually appearing at around six to nine months. By the age of one, a baby will usually have around eight teeth. However, all babies develop at different rates, so this can vary.

You should begin gently brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they arrive. You can buy toothpaste and small-headed toothbrushes especially for babies or children at your local pharmacy or supermarket. You should clean your baby or child’s teeth until they are old enough to do it themselves. This is usually around the age of seven years.

It’s important for your child to get into a regular oral hygiene routine to prevent tooth decay in the future. Babies can be affected by tooth decay as soon as their first teeth arrive. Your baby should also visit the dentist as soon as their teeth begin to appear so the dentist can check their teeth are developing as they should be.

When to seek further help

If you develop any of the following symptoms, you should visit your dentist to discuss your symptoms:

  • pus coming from your gums
  • a bad taste in your mouth that won’t go away
  • loose teeth caused by infected gums
  • any abscesses that develop – these can be under your teeth and will usually be very painful.

If you develop any of the following symptoms with your mouth problems, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible:

  • any difficulty talking or swallowing
  • swollen lymph glands in your neck
  • a fever (a temperature over 38⁰C).

Last reviewed: August 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 747 results

Dental care for children

Dental care tips for children, covering brushing teeth, flossing, tooth development, teeth decay and other dental problems, and when to see a dentist.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Teeth - dental care for children

Tooth decay is preventable. How you look afteryour child'steeth from the time they are babies will make a difference to how they grow and how healthy they are.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Dental care for infants

Baby dental care starts from the first tooth. Learn about the correct dental care for infants and toddlers when they are bottle feeding to eating solid foods.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Dental health looking after your teeth and gums Dietitians Association of Australia

Dental health looking after your teeth and gums Good oral hygiene and eating habits can reduce the risk of tooth decay

Read more on Dietitians Association of Australia website

Pregnancy - Your Dental Health | Australian Dental Association

Regular dentist visits are a must during this important period. Information for parents with Chidlren 0 - 11 years.

Read more on ADA – Australian Dental Association website

Child Dental Benefits Schedule

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) provides basic dental services to children aged between 2 and 17 years.

Read more on Medicare website

Your child's health

Your child's health includes dental care, recognising when your child is unwell, has a serious illness and taking care when giving them medicine.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Fluoride (18-30yrs) - Your Dental Health | Australian Dental Association

Fluoride plays a critical role in strengthening your teeths ability to fight off decay. Information for younger Adults 18 - 30 years.

Read more on ADA – Australian Dental Association website

Your child

Looking after your child's health includes healthy eating, good sleeping patterns, dental care for infants and children, play and physical activity exercise.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Teeth - development and care

A guide to the stages of baby teething, teething tips, caring for your child's teeth, tips on brushing baby teeth, plus links to trusted resources

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo