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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Dental health in babies & children

Te ratonga niho mō ngā pēpi me hunga kāore

Your children's teeth are at risk of decay as soon as they appear. There are some important things you can do to look after your child's teeth.

Breastfeeding is the best thing for pēpi (babies) health and their developing teeth. If you're using a bottle to feed, it should only contain formula for pēpi babies , expressed breast milk and water when they're a little older. Do not put any fruit juices or sweetened drinks in their bottle or sippy cup.

When your baby moves onto solids, avoid sugar as much as possible in their diet.

You should start brushing as soon as the first pēpi tooth comes through the gums – usually around 6 months of age. Use a soft-headed brush that is small enough to fit into their mouth. You only need a small smear of a fluoride toothpaste.

Dental care for tamariki (children) is free in New Zealand up to 18 years of age. Make sure your tamaiti (child) is signed up with the community dental service so they can start having regular dental checks from an early age.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Teething

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2022.

See also:

Eligibility of children for free dental care

Dental care for babies & under 5s

Dental care for school children

Page reference: 75088

Review key: HILAT-75077