Starting your child off with good dental care can help protect their teeth for decades to come. Your child’s primary teeth, often referred as “baby teeth,” are as important as the permanent adult teeth.
A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth and typically begin to appear when a baby is between 6 months and 1 year. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3.
Do Baby Teeth matter ?
Baby teeth help children chew and speak, they also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too 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 crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.
When do I start taking my child to the Dentist?
The American Dental Association recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months after the first tooth comes in and no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a preventive check up for your baby’s teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can also show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumb sucking.
How do I take care of My child’s teeth ?
It’s important to care for your baby’s teeth from the start. Here’s how to do it:
- Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by gently wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or cloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. Therefore it is important that you start off the oral hygiene routine as early as possible.
- For children younger than 3 years, parents should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride based toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
- For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
- Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
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