We think the foundation for long-term oral health is laid by taking care of children's baby teeth and teaching them about oral hygiene at a young age.
Your child develops and learns new skills every day. Because these years can lay the groundwork for lifelong oral health, paying close attention to your toddler's baby teeth and smile from a young age is critical. We'll talk about the importance of baby teeth and how you can help your child maintain a healthy smile right now.
Why are baby teeth important?
You may be wondering why baby teeth are still important if they are not permanent and will fall out eventually. The first baby teeth, usually the bottom front teeth, begin to erupt around the age of six months. By the age of three, your child should have ten top teeth and ten bottom teeth, as well as the last baby teeth in the back of the mouth and upper jaw.
Baby teeth serve a variety of functions in the mouths of our young patients. They are for talking, eating, and brightening up the room with a smile. Baby teeth in a child's mouth also serve as placeholders for adult teeth in the jaws.
Around age 6, your child should begin to lose their first baby tooth and adult teeth will start to emerge. The timing of this tooth loss is critical. If your child loses a baby tooth too early, contact your child's dentist about how the correct space can be kept in the mouth so the adult teeth will erupt normally.
How should I take care of baby teeth?
Now is the time to create a solid oral health care routine for your child. By combining at-home care with regular dental visits, you can help keep your child's smile healthy.
Brush twice per day (morning and night) to prevent cavities.
Wipe your baby's mouth with a wet pad or cloth to keep it clean. Use an ultra-soft toothbrush and a rice-sized grain of toothpaste for children under the age of three. Children over the age of three should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Once your child can spit out all of the toothpaste after brushing, switch to fluoridated toothpaste (ask your dentist before switching). Brush your child's teeth together until every tooth is clean.
Visit your child's dentist regularly
Before their child turns one year old, parents should schedule their first dental checkup. By now, the first baby tooth should have emerged. We'll show you how to care for your child's teeth at home, examine his or her mouth for plaque and cavities, and let you know when his or her next tooth is due. Children should visit the dentist every six months for a professional checkup and cleaning.
Limit sugary or acidic treats
Soda and fruit juice are high in acid and sugar, which can damage your child's baby teeth. Candy and other sweets should also be avoided because they erode tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities in your child.
Look into dental sealants for your child
Sealants are special coatings that are applied to a child's molar grooves and pits (back teeth). These help to prevent tooth decay on biting surfaces. Sealants may be recommended by your dentist if your child is at high risk of developing cavities.
Check into fluoride treatment
Fluoride is a proactive measure to help protect your child's teeth from cavities.
Once all the baby teeth have erupted, start flossing. There are special flossers for kids.
This is general advice. Certain children may have special circumstances and may need to see the dentist more often for checkups or cleanings.