Maintaining your baby's oral health is just as important as making sure your little one is up to date on their doctors’ wellness visits. A child's first tooth usually starts to come in at around six months of age. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that your child see a dentist within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, but not later than one year of age. Dr. Sherry and our staff will demonstrate proper care for your baby's teeth and can also guide you in dealing with other behaviors that may affect the development of your infant's teeth, such as thumb-sucking and tooth grinding.
It is easy to think that your child's primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, are not that important, as they will just fall out as your child gets older and they begin to get their permanent teeth. However, your child's baby teeth are just as important as his or her permanent teeth. The baby teeth allow your child to chew and speak. Primary teeth also act as placeholders in the jaw for the permanent teeth that will eventually grow in.
While your child's teeth are coming in, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that you use chilled teething rings for your child to gum or you can massage your child’s gums to help with the soreness. If these don’t seem to be helping, then you can offer a dose of acetaminophen and ibuprofen if the child is at least 6 months old. Use of oral anesthetics, like Orajel, are not recommended as they may be toxic to infants. Once your child develops his or her first tooth, you should gently brush it twice a day with water and a soft toothbrush. You want to be sure to clean off any remaining formula or milk that could contribute to tooth decay. You can use a smear of toothpaste for children under the age of two and then after that a pea size amount of toothpaste can be used. The ADA also recommends that you begin flossing whenever baby has two teeth that touch each other.
To help protect your child's teeth, in addition to twice daily brushing and flossing, limit snacks and serve only milk and juice with meals. Water is best for in between meals. Schedule regular checkups with a pediatric dentist.
Your child's oral health is just as important as required vaccinations and doctor's wellness visits. The Center for Disease Control reports that more than 40% of children have some sort of tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten. Start your child off with a great smile! Don't put it off, schedule your child's free dental wellness visit with us today!