FAQs for 0-4 years

Primary or baby teeth are usually developed before your child is born and will start to come through at around six months. All 20 teeth will be through by about age two, and at around six years the adult teeth will begin to come through. 

Most children do suffer some pain during teething. Their cheeks may appear red and warm to touch. Using special gels and teething rings can help to reduce the pain. However, teething does not cause health problems like high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and ear infection. If the child has any of these symptoms, or if pain continues, it is best to consult with a health professional.

The New Zealand government, through the district health board, provides free dental care for all children and adolescents. To be eligible for this free service it is important that your child is enrolled at the school dental service with your local DHB.

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky coating of bacteria that forms on teeth every day. If not removed by brushing and flossing, the bacteria in dental plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Tooth decay, dental decay or a cavity is the gradual break down of the tooth. The bacteria in the plaque in your mouth turns sugar on your teeth into acid. This acid attacks the enamel of your teeth and after repeated attacks creates a hole or cavity.

Children should start using fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first teeth come through the gums. An adult should make sure that only a smear be used for children under six years and a pea-sized amount for children over six years.