Some of the questions you might have are: “When should my baby’s teeth come in? When do I begin brushing my baby’s teeth? And how? When should I start bringing my child to the dentist for check-ups and dental hygiene treatments?”
These are all great questions. We hope to get you started on the answers here and invite you to come in to see Dr. Mahara and his friendly staff to learn more.
When Can I Expect My Baby’s Teeth?
In the above graphic, you can see the order that a child’s teeth typically come in. Amazingly, a baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth! These first 20 teeth will begin to appear in the first 6 to 12 months of life.
We all have some level of awareness that babies will have some sore or tender gums as those first teeth emerge. Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can be soothing. You can also give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky and in pain, consult your dentist or physician for options.
Although every child is different, by the age of three, many children have a full set of 20 primary teeth.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Starting a child off with good oral care is incredibly important for several reasons. Most obvious is that baby teeth serve a functional purpose – to help him or her chew, speak and smile. Less obvious to parents is that baby teeth do an important job of holding space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.
In the case where a baby tooth is lost early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crowded.
Starting kids off with the right attitude to oral care is also important. It’s all about forming strong, positive habits. For all of these reasons, starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for a lifetime.
Tips on Caring for Your Child’s Teeth
As a parent, you want to do the right thing for your child. Here’s a few pointers for their various stages of growth!
- Start right away: Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth regularly by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. This is a good habit and cavities can occur any time after teeth irrupt.
- Brush for your child at least until the age of 3: Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.
- Supervise brushing for children 3 to 6 years of age: Supervise children’s brushing to make sure they do a good job and to remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
- Keep monitoring brushing and flossing: Until you’re comfortable that your child has mastered brushing, continue to help and monitor your child’s brushing twice a day. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?
As with starting good oral care habits early, start the habit of bringing your child to the dentist early. The rule of thumb is to bring your child for their first check up no later than the first birthday. Having those first check-ups experienced as fun and positive events will set the tone for trips to the dentist later on. Besides checking for cavities and other problems, your dentist can guide you on how best to care for your child’s teeth and answer any questions you are having.
Call or email Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group to book an appointment today: