Updated on February 1, 2024
4 min read

6 Tips to Teach Your Child About Dental Health

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6 Tips to Teach Your Child About Dental Health

When a child’s dentition consists of primary and newly erupted permanent teeth (mixed dentition phase), they should take extra care of their teeth. This ensures the newly erupted permanent teeth are healthy.

Good oral hygiene practices to teach your children include:

  1. Brushing the permanent teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily
  2. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush to ensure tooth enamel doesn’t get damaged over time
  3. Flossing between teeth at least once daily to remove dental plaque
  4. Rinsing the mouth with mouthwash once a day
  5. Drinking fluoridated tap water to reduce the chance of cavity development
  6. Visiting a pediatric dentist or family dentist at least twice a year for routine teeth cleanings, x-rays, professional fluoride treatment, and exams

Common Dental Conditions in Children & Treatment Options

Common oral health conditions that affect children include:

Early Childhood Caries (ECC)

Children are prone to developing early childhood caries (ECC). This is especially true in primary teeth.

During the baby teething period, tooth enamel is more fragile than permanent tooth enamel. ECCs begin as white spots on the teeth. Over time, the spots turn brown or black.

Cavities most commonly appear on the biting surfaces of primary molars, including the upper middle teeth. Common causes of cavities include:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Low fluoride consumption
  • Bad oral hygiene
  • Dry mouth

How Early Childhood Caries Impact Future Dental Health

Even though primary teeth fall out at a young age, taking care of them is essential. If children develop cavities in their baby teeth, the bacteria can affect the permanent teeth once they erupt into the mouth. This bacteria makes them more susceptible to tooth decay.

Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are the most common restorative treatment option for minor cavities in primary and permanent teeth. Treatment options include the following fillings:

  • Composite
  • Amalgam
  • Glass
composite cavity filling NewMouth

Dental Crowns

Stainless steel crowns typically restore primary teeth with large cavities. Dental crowns repair permanent teeth with large cavities.

Types of dental crowns include:

  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal
  • Gold alloys
  • Ceramic crowns
dental crowns NewMouth

Tooth Extractions and Space Maintainers

Your dentist may extract teeth due to the following:

  • Decay
  • Trauma
  • Other oral health conditions

However, if your child loses a primary tooth prematurely, they should wear space maintainers. Space maintainers ensure that permanent teeth grow in the correct position to prevent the misalignment of teeth and overcrowding.

Dental Care Basics for Children (5 to 13 yrs)

As a baby transitions into childhood, oral care needs to change. This is because the risk of developing cavities increases with age. The risk of gum diseases, such as gingivitis and dental pulp infections, is also higher.

From the milestone of a baby’s first tooth, primary teeth typically fall out between six and 13 years, and permanent teeth begin to grow in. This is when children should learn healthy oral hygiene habits to keep their mouths in tip-top shape as they grow into adulthood.

Aside from the tips above, here are some additional things to keep in mind for your child’s oral health at this stage: 

  • Limit sugary snacks and drinks like soda, candy, and juice — These can cause plaque buildup and increase the risk of cavities.
  • Encourage children to drink water instead of sugary drinks — Water helps wash away food particles and neutralize acids that can damage tooth enamel.
  • Avoid using pacifiers or bottles past the age of two — Prolonged sucking can cause dental problems and a baby’s teeth misaligning.
  • If your child plays sports, make sure they wear a mouthguard — This is essential considering how many teeth could be at risk of potential injuries.
  • Monitor your child’s brushing habits and assist if necessary — Children may not have the dexterity to brush their teeth thoroughly until age eight.
  • Set a good example by practicing good oral hygiene habits — Children often mimic their parents, so ensure you care for your teeth.
dentist showing young girl 3d teeth model

Losing Baby Teeth

All primary or baby teeth should erupt between six months and two to three years of age. A baby teething chart can be a helpful tool to track this process.

  • Baby teeth fall out at different times throughout childhood, beginning around age six.
  • As baby teeth fall out, permanent teeth start to erupt around the same time, around age six.
  • Permanent teeth fully grow in by age 13.
  • The period when each third molar or wisdom tooth erupts typically occurs between 17 and 25
  • Dentists typically remove third molars before age 20.

Chronology of Permanent Dentition

The standard chronology of permanent dentition is as follows:

timeline of primary teeth eruption


Establishing good oral hygiene habits for children from a young age is crucial. The primary teeth play an essential role in the development and health of permanent teeth.

Follow the tips above to help prevent common dental conditions, such as cavities and gingivitis. In case of any concerns or issues, consult a pediatric dentist specializing in taking care of children’s oral health needs.

Last updated on February 1, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 1, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Berg et al.Early Childhood Oral Health.” Wiley Blackwell, 2015.
  2. Göran et al.Pediatric Dentistry: a Clinical Approach.” John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2017.
  3. Nowak, A.J.Pediatric Dentistry: Infancy through Adolescence.” Elsevier, 2018.
  4. Fricker et al. “Orthodontic diagnosis and treatment in the mixed dentition.” Pocket Dentistry, 2015. 
  5. Anil et al. “Early Childhood Caries: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Prevention.” Frontiers in Pediatrics, 2017.
  6. Setia et al. “Space Maintainers in Dentistry: Past to Present.” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 2013.
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