Baby Teeth 101
Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear which is usually around six months of age. The golden word for children’s dental care is prevention! Many of the dental issues that children face can be easily preventable with a little regular routine in their lives. They are going to need to care for their teeth and you might as well get them started early.
Cleaning Your Baby’s Teeth
Begin by cleaning your baby’s mouth soon after they are born by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. Tooth decay can start as soon as the first tooth begins to appear.
First Dental Visit
With the appearance of their first tooth, a dental appointment should be made. Ideally, your baby should be seen by a dentist within the first six months of that first tooth coming in, and no later than their first birthday.
The first visit is usually for the dentist to examine your child’s mouth and to check growth and development. It is natural for a child to feel anxious about a new place, and your pediatric dentist is well versed in knowing how to make a child feel comfortable. There are a few things you can to do to make that visit easier for your child.
• Talk to your child about visiting the dentist.
• Read children’s books to them about their visit.
• Keep the visit positive, and don’t let them see your anxiety.
• Think about making a morning appointment when your child is rested and cooperative.
During the first visit, the doctor will check for cavities or other problems. The dentist or staff will discuss cleaning and tips for daily care. The dentist may also discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger/thumb sucking habits. Any additional recommended treatments will be reviewed and the next check-up will be scheduled.
Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
Your child will not be able to master this skill until they are around six years old. Until then, you will need to help them and supervise their efforts. Their teeth should be brushed twice a day as soon as they come in. Use a child’s sized toothbrush with fluoridated toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice to begin. When your baby is about three years old, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. This will establish a good oral hygiene routine.
You can begin flossing their teeth when there are two teeth that are side-by-side.
Baby teeth are important, so caring for them is equally important. Not only do they help your child to speak and chew properly, the baby teeth hold the space so the permanent teeth grow in properly.
Regular Dental Check-ups
Regular visits to see your child’s dentist are important in their ongoing treatment. The doctor will monitor their growth and development and offer recommendations on treatments, such as sealants and crowns.
In the first several years of your baby’s life, you are establishing oral healthcare habits, which will remain with them the rest of their lives. Partner with us at Westchester Pediatric Dentistry. Our great team, including Drs. Burnett and Sreenivasan look forward to providing excellent care for your child’s baby teeth!