Dental Health

It’s very important to keep your teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy and continue to do so after the birth of your baby. Doncaster Health Visiting Service will provide each baby a tooth brush, toothpaste, Dinosaur Douglas book and an information leaflet when we see you around 3-4 month when we invite you to our Lets Eat Together.

The changes in your hormones during and after pregnancy can affect the health of your gums. Your mouth and gums may become swollen, inflamed and bleed when you brush your teeth. Take extra care to brush along the gum line and any areas more thoroughly where gums are bleeding.

  • Keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible by brushing your teeth twice a day morning and before you go to bed
  • Check that your toothpaste contains at least 1350 parts of fluoride to get maximum protection against tooth decay
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet, containing a large variety of foods including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks will greatly help you to reduce the risk of tooth decay
  • Visit your dentist regularly and take your baby with you so that they get used to the dentist too. Teach your child healthy habits that will help protect their teeth throughout their lives
  • Remember, if you are an NHS patient, your dental treatment is free while you are pregnant and until your baby’s first birthday.

If you need to find a dentist, then you can go online and visit:

Your baby’s teeth – birth to one year

Teeth are an important part of your baby’s health; helping them to eat a healthy diet, speak clearly, and smile with confidence. Looking after your baby’s mouth is important right from birth


Your baby’s teeth begin to form within the first few weeks of pregnancy and your baby will cut their first tooth round six months of age.

Signs of teething are:

  • Dribbling more than usual
  • Waking in the night when they have been sleeping through
  • Chewing or biting on hard surfaces
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Restlessness or irritability.

You can buy cooling teething rings to traditional sugar free pain relief medication suitable for babies (ask your local pharmacist or health visitor for more details).

Visit the Baby teething symptoms page of the NHS choices website for more information

When to start to brushing teeth

The first thing you can do to protect your children’s teeth is to brush them as soon as they appear in the mouth. It’s recommended that you brush your baby’s teeth twice a day, morning and night. Brushing at night time can be a challenge when your baby is small but find a time that works for both of you.

Use a small headed, soft bristled toothbrush and check that the toothpaste has fluoride (which strengthens and protects the teeth) in it. Babies and toddlers up to three years old need at least 1000 parts per million of fluoride in the toothpaste for it to protect their teeth properly. This information is found on the packaging or tube.


Start by using a small bit of mild tasting toothpaste. Children aged three to six years should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1350 – 1500 parts of fluoride (ppmF)

There is no need to worry about your baby rinsing with water after brushing their teeth. Rinsing washes away the fluoride and stops it working as well.

Using a cup/ beaker

When your baby starts to use a cup it helps develop the muscles they need to speak and eat. You can start giving drinks from a cup/beaker when your baby is six months old (around the time you start weaning). Aim to have your child using a cup all the time from one year. The best cup/beaker to give is one that the drink can flow from freely when you tip it upside down. Avoid cups with a valve as these don’t help your child to move on from ‘sucking to sipping’.

Water is the best alternative drink to milk for your children’s teeth. Keep away from sweetened and flavoured drinks for as long as you can and avoid giving these as a drink in-between meal.

When starting to offer a cup, be patient, as there will be spills and accidents and never leave your baby alone when drinking because of the risk of choking.

Visit the Drinks and cups for babies and toddlers page of the NHS Choices website for more information.

Dummy use

If your baby uses a dummy start to ‘wean’ them off it when you introduce a cup at weaning. Aim to have them completely dummy free by the time they are around one-year-old. A good way to start is to reduce the time they use a dummy and keep it out of sight.

For further help with this please talk to your health visitor or dental professional.

Take care with sugar

Sugary foods and drinks through the day puts your children’s teeth at risk of tooth decay. When moving onto solid foods avoid adding sugar to any weaning foods you make yourself. Check the labels of any shop bought weaning foods and look for hidden sugars. Try to buy sugar-free or low sugar varieties whenever possible; remember even savoury dinners and snacks can sometimes have sugar in them.

Avoid offering sweet snacks and drinks between meals. Talk to relatives and child minders about this so that everyone is doing the same thing.

Please note that foods and drinks for babies can still contain sugars  and some ‘baby biscuits’ can have more sugar in them than a regular biscuit.

Dried fruits are a healthy addition to baby’s meals, but they are very sugary and should be avoided as snacks.

Visit the Your baby’s first solid foods page of the NHS Choices website for more information.

Visiting the dentist

We all need to attend the dentist regularly to make sure that our teeth, gums and the rest of our mouths are healthy. Taking your baby with you when you go for a check-up gets them used to the sights, sounds of going to the dentist, even if they do not have their teeth looked at.

You need to show your child that going to the dentist is a part of staying healthy. If you don’t have a dentist yourself, talk to other parents and find out where they take their children and make an appointment to go as a family.

Other ways to find a dentists are to visit the following web pages

You can also contact:

Healthwatch Doncaster
36 Duke Street

Telephone: 0808 8010 391

Twitter: @hwdoncaster