Health Topics

Children’s Dental Health Checklist

Track your child’s dental health and development with this checklist.  Use this checklist  for children 0 to 36 months old.

If your child is between 18 and 24 months, does she or he have at least 12 teeth?


If your child is between 25 and 36 months, does he or she have at least 16 teeth?


yes          no


By 18 months, most children have 12 to 16 teeth.

By 36 months, most children have 18 to 20 teeth.

The first teeth to come in are the front teeth, followed by the teeth in the back.

Does an adult clean your child’s teeth every day?

yes          no


Clean your child’s teeth daily using a rice-sized portion of toothpaste.  The most important time to clean your child’s teeth is before going to sleep at night.

Are your child’s teeth shiny and white?

yes          no


Even toddlers can get tooth decay.  Check your child’s teeth at least once a month.  Lift the upper lip to see the teeth right up to the gum line.  If teeth have chalky-white or brown spots or teeth are chipped or broken, take your child to a dentist.

Has your child seen a dentist or dental hygienist?

yes          no


Children should have their teeth checked by the time they are one year old by a dentist or a registered dental hygienist so any problems are found early.

Does your child drink mostly from a cup without a lid?

yes          no


By 18 months, your child should drink from a cup without a lid.  Do not let your child constantly sip from a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk, formula, juice, pop, Kool-aid or sugar water.

Does your child sleep without a bottle?

yes          no


If your child must have a bottle to fall asleep, fill it with plain water.  If you are breastfeeding, take your child off the breast when he or she is done actively feeding.

Does your child have set times during the day for meals and snacks?

yes          no


Your child should have no more than five to six set meal and snack times during the day.  Frequent snacking can cause cavities, especially if foods are sticky and sweet.  Examples of healthy snacks are cheese, whole grain crackers, yogurt, fruit and vegetables.  For snack time drinks, offer plain water, milk or unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice.  When your child is thirsty at other times, offer plain water.

If you answered “no” to three or more questions on the checklist, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about your child’s teeth. 

If you do not have a dentist, call Public Health Services at 905-546-2424 ext. 3566 to speak with a registered dental hygienist.

Source: Adapted from the Community Dental Health Services Research Unit, Ontario Government’s Health Systems Linked Research Units