Babies start getting their teeth around 6 months of age, though the range is fairly wide. You can already be gently wiping the gums with a soft cloth, after they have had a feeding.
When a baby is fed mostly formula, care should be taken that he/she does not ingest too much fluoride. Distilled water or water filtered by reverse osmosis should be used (boiling only concentrates the fluoride)
6 months- 2 years
By about the age of two they will have all their baby teeth erupted (click here for eruption chart). By this point they can be using a toothbrush, but make sure you get your turn! They will mostly like to chew on it, and it is still up to you to make sure all the teeth are getting brushed. Make sure the toothpaste (if they are using one), does not have fluoride, as they are too young to be reliably spitting it all out.
Around two years you can start preparing them to go for their first dental hygiene visit: read stories, talk about it when you go, you can even bring them for a "ride in the chair" (at Erica's Mobile Smiles I have found that even very young children want a turn in the chair after they have watched their family members. It is an easy transition when it is in their home)
At this age they like to assert their independance and it may be difficult to get them to let you brush their teeth. Click here for tips to make brushing easier
All About Kids
Once babies start getting their teeth it is important that they are not going to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of formula or milk or juice. These liquids all have sugar in them and they can get rampant decay as the teeth will be sitting in sugar all night long.
By the time they are two years old a bedtime routine that includes good oral care should be in place.
Baby teeth are very important and should be well taken care of. Diet should be low in sugar: sugary foods and drinks should be limited to meal times (if at all). It is best to keep snacking limited to healthy foods - not only will this be good for their overall health (and set up good lifetime habits), but will help keep the cavities away. Often it is the frequency of dietary sugar and not the amount that counts - sipping on juice through out the day is much worse than drinking it with lunch.
If baby teeth are close together it is a great idea to be flossing between them as well. You can buy kid flosser in the store that makes this process easier
Baby teeth help with speech development, and guide the adult teeth into proper position when the time comes.
Around 6 years of age the first adult teeth will start to erupt. (click here for eruption chart). The first to come in are the first permanent molars. They erupt behind the baby teeth and often go unnoticed. These teeth are also often missed when brushing so extra care should be taken at this time that the brush reaches all the way to the back.
As baby teeth fall out and new teeth come in, parents often worry about how the adult teeth look - are they in alignment, are they white?
It is too early to tell at this point whether or not a child will need braces. Teeth erupt in funny ways (there's a reason it's called the "ugly duckling stage" after all!), and can sometimes straigthen out as the jaw grows bigger. Adult teeth are unfortunately not as white as baby teeth. The difference can be very obvious when they are side by side. However there is nothing wrong with the adult teeth. If there is a disruption in the tooth formation (due to high fever, some antibiotics, too much fluoride), the teeth can erupt with funny looking patterns.
The gums can be very sore as the adult teeth erupt. Do your best to keep them as clean as possible, as left behind plaque will only aggravate the problem.
Teeth will continue to transition until 12 years of age. The last teeth to erupt will be the second molars, at the very back of the mouth. Although the age range for eruption can be wide, teeth generally erupt in a specific order (see eruption chart). Tooth eruption can be delayed for a particular tooth if the baby tooth was extracted early (due to decay).