Did you know that your baby was born with 20 primary teeth? It takes 6 months-to-a-year for those teeth to begin the process of pushing through the gums, but they were there, in your baby’s jaw, at birth. And typically, the complete set of 20 will have made its appearance by age 3. Every child is different, but the first to come in are usually those located in the top and bottom front of the mouth.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Proper care during the early stages of a child’s oral health and development is essential in helping protect their teeth well into the future. Baby teeth not only help a child chew naturally, speak clearly, and smile confidently, but they also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth growing under the gums. Baby teeth help form a path for permanent teeth to follow as they erupt, so losing baby teeth too soon can lead to the drifting of adult teeth as they push through. Often time, crooked, crowded spacing is the unwanted result. Save time, money, and hassle long term by caring for your child’s teeth now. It’s well worth the effort.
How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth
It’s crucial that you begin caring for your child’s teeth from day one, and with a little time and effort, this can be done quite easily. Simply follow this simple how-to guide.
- The First Days After Birth — wipe gums with a clean, moist washcloth.
- Eruption of the First Teeth — brush twice daily with a tiny smear (the size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste. Flossing once a day is recommended by the ADA.
- Ages 3 to 6 — transition from your brushing to supervising your child’s brushing (twice daily with pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste).
- When Child is Competent — allow your child to brush independently.
At what age should I bring my child to the dentist?
We recommend you call and schedule a Well Baby Checkup after the first tooth comes—typically around 6 months—and no later than your child’s first birthday. The AAPD recommends the first dental check-up to be within 6 months after the first tooth erupts. During this appointment, we will check for cavities and other problems as well as show you how to properly clean your baby’s teeth. If your baby’s teeth are not erupted by age 14 months then schedule an appointment for a check-up to evaluate any possible cause of delay.
What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
Gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay.
What if my child has a toothache?
A warm salt water rinse and a cold compress on the face is a good start for cleaning the area and easing any discomfort. Acetaminophen (e.g., Children’s Tylenol) for pain is a better choice than aspirin. Bring your child in to see us, so we can get to the root of the matter immediately.
How often does my child need to see a pediatric dentist?
We recommend you bring your child in for a cleaning and checkup every 6 months to best prevent cavities and other dental problems.
What else can I do to prevent tooth decay?
In addition to bringing your child in to us regularly—beginning with the eruption of the first tooth—your providing a balanced diet and helping them develop healthy habits of brushing and flossing twice daily are the most reliable ways to avoid tooth decay.
The bottom line? Our team, including board certified pediatric dentists at Smileville Family Dental is ready to help you help your child develop good oral care habits beginning with their primary teeth. Proper early care will aid them in keeping those permanent teeth healthy for life. Call us today! Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-417-9722