Everything you Need to Know about your Child’s Dental Health

We answer a lot of questions regarding children’s teeth. From when to first take your kiddo in for an appointment, to how to start healthy habits in a fun way. We have the answers to ensure your child’s oral health is taken care of from the time their first tooth pops!

While not seen when born, babes enter the world with 20 teeth below their gums. These baby teeth start popping through around 6 months and most kiddos have the full set by the time they are 3.

Decay can start happening as soon as the first tooth starts to appear. Often referred to as “baby bottle tooth decay”, the upper front teeth can be affected due to prolonged exposure to drinks that contain sugar. To avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, limit putting your baby to bed with a bottle. Additionally, try not to clean a fallen pacifier by putting it in your own mouth or share utensils with your child. This can cause a transfer of cavity-causing germs to your child.

When teeth first begin to emerge you can wipe them with a damp cloth to clean them at home. It is important to use fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth come through the gums in order to prevent decay. Twice a day, use about the size of a grain of rice worth of toothpaste for kids 3 and younger and a child-size soft bristle toothbrush. After your child turns 3, you can use the amount of toothpaste to size of a pea. As your child gets older and begins brushing on their own, make sure they follow the brush for 2 minutes, 2 times a day rule!

Make brushing fun by playing your child’s favorite song while brushing for 2 minutes! Or tell a fun story to make the minutes fly by! Toothbrushes with your child’s favorite characters on them can also make brushing more enjoyable.

As soon as your child has two teeth that touch, you can start cleaning between the teeth with floss. There are child-friendly plastic flossing tools that makes this process easier until they are old enough to learn how to do it with floss themselves.

You might wonder why your child’s baby teeth are so important since they will fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. Not only do baby teeth help your child chew and speak, but when a tooth is lost too early, first emerging permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and can make it difficult for other teeth to find the correct room when they come in. This can result in crooked or crowded teeth.

Plan your child’s first dentist visit between the time their first tooth appears and by the time they turn 3. Since these baby teeth are susceptible to cavities as soon as they pop out of the gums, it is important to get them checked and to start healthy habits. It can be helpful to prepare your child for their first visit by reading books or watching videos about the dentist.

During a first visit, we will examine your child’s teeth and jaw to make sure they are developing correctly, check or cavities or other issues, clean their teeth, and answer any questions you may have.

As your child gets older, ask your dentist about sealants. Sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth and form a barrier between cavity-causing bacteria and the tooth. Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay in molars by nearly 80%!

As an additional tip, when your child is thirsty, offering them water isn’t only a great option for overall health, but also for the health of their teeth – especially if it contains fluoride! Fluoride is a mineral that can be found naturally in oceans, rivers, lakes, and possibly your own community tap water. Drinking water with fluoride has been shown to reduce cavities by 25% due to fluoride’s ability to not only make tooth enamel more resistant to decay, but also the help it provides to repair weakened enamel.

If you have any additional questions regarding your child’s oral health, schedule a appointment or feel free to bring them up at their already scheduled bi-yearly check-up. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns and love to see your child’s smile!