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How to Care For Your Child’s Teeth

A child's primary teeth, sometimes called "baby teeth," are as important as the permanent adult teeth.

  • Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age six months and one year.
  • Primary teeth help children chew and speak.
  • Primary teeth hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are developing under the gums.

The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday.

  • A dental visit at an early age is a "well baby checkup" for the teeth.
  • Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can demonstrate how to clean the child's teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking.

Learn more about caring for your children's teeth at the ADA's new website- MouthHealthy.org. Watch videos, search topics and explore Life Stages (including babies, kids and teens) to find tips and information to make you and your family Mouth Healthy for Life. View dental symptoms, find nutrition tips and search by topic. You can also find ADA Seal Product information to find products that have been scientifically tested to be safe and effective.

Additional Resources:
Primary Teeth Eruption Chart (PDF)
Permanent Tooth Eruption Chart (PDF)
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (PDF)