Caring For Your Child's Developing Teeth

Pediatric dentistry has two main components: preventative care at the dental practice and preventative care at home. As infant and toddler tooth decay has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, good dental oral care is essential to prevent that.

The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth around 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.

At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different. Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.

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Questions & Answers

What is the best way to clean my baby's teeth?

Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, you can start to clean his or her gums with a soft cloth or very soft baby toothbrush. By the time the first tooth appears, your child will then be used to this at a time when the gums may be sore from the teeth starting to push through. A selection of baby’s toothbrushes will be available at most chemists.

Once your child’s teeth erupt  (appear), examine them as you brush them. Sugary foods and liquids can easily attack a new tooth, so look for any changes. Ensure you only feed your child anything containing sugar (drink or food) with meals, ie 3 times a day. Any snacks or drinks between meals should be sugar free.

Remember brushing teeth does not really prevent decay, only limiting the sugar intake does this.

Brushing should be done twice a day, in the evening during the bed time routine, and also in the morning.

When should I schedule my child's first dentist appointment?

The first tooth = the first dental visit.  We recommend that your child’s first visit should be six months after his or her first tooth erupts or by one year of age, whichever is first.

What happens during my child's first visit?

We take time to get to know your child in an environment that is friendly and relaxed. With younger children, this is often done with the child on a parent’s knee. The dentist will check your child’s teeth and make sure there are no problems with the gums or jaw. We will also assess your child’s oral health needs for any future treatment or risk of cavities.

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