All about your infant's mouth | Dental Treatment Guide

When a child is born their mouth along with the rest of the body will be carefully examined. In the majority of cases normal mouth development has already taken place and the gums, soft palate and tongue are able to function. However, there are some variations which may cause concern and might need to be treated.

  • Epstein's pearls are small spots on the roof of the mouth which tend to disappear within a few weeks.
  • Bohn's nodules are similar spots but these appear on the side of the gums rather than the roof of the mouth.
  • Inclusion cysts might appear on the top of the gum ridge.
  • Natal and neonatal teeth refer to the teeth that the baby is either born with or develops within their first month. If these teeth are loose, interfere with feeding or irritate the tongue or lip then they should be removed.

How should I clean a baby's mouth?

It is important to get into the routine of cleaning your child's mouth from the beginning of their life. When cleaning a baby's mouth lay their head close to your chest so that you can look directly down into their mouth as this will help you to get a better view of the mouth and what you are doing. The gums and teeth need to be cleaned and this can be done with a damp cloth or specialist cloths from pharmacies. The baby's teeth need to be cleaned twice a day and this should be done after breakfast and before going to bed. A soft brush can be introduced when the first teeth start to appear and by the time that molars have appeared you should be using a toothbrush all the time.


During the age of 3-9 months your child will start to develop a lot of teeth. This tends to begin with the lower front two teeth. The order in which teeth grow can be predictable and often follows the pattern of upper and lower incisors, first molars, canines and second molars. By the age of 3 most children will have a complete set of 20 baby teeth.

The teething process can be a difficult time for both parent and child. Infants often become irritable; experience increased drooling and may lose their appetite. The discomfort caused by teething can be eased by small amounts of teething gel, rubbing the gums or supplying frozen teething rings.

Sucking tendencies

It is expected that most children will develop a sucking habit on their thumb, finger or a dummy. This is a natural reflex that the child has been doing since their time in the womb. It is normal for these sucking habits to recede around the age of 4 or 5. If this happens at this stage then it is unlikely that the jaw or position of teeth will be affected. If sucking continues when permanent teeth begin to appear then it is probable that the child will experience biting issues. Long term sucking can lead to:

  • Slanting of top front teeth outwards
  • Lower front teeth turned inwards
  • Displacement of upper and lower jaw
  • Narrowing of the roof of the mouth

The extent to which the mouth is distorted will depend upon the intensity of the sucking. It is important to address the issue of sucking and discourage your child from doing so.

Further Information about your Babies Mouth & Teeth