Pediatric DentistryImportant Facts to Know
When New Teeth Arrive
Your child’s first “baby” teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six and twelve months, and the full set of 20 baby teeth should be in place by the child’s third birthday. Every child is different, and it’s important to bring your little one to the dentist every six months to make sure that everything is developing normally.
As the teeth erupt, your child’s gums may feel tender and sore. To help alleviate this discomfort, gently run the gums with a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth. You can also buy a teething ring for your child. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Adopting Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
As your baby’s teeth arrive, examine them every couple of weeks to check for yellow, brown or white discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes after feeding or eating. Start brushing as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. When a baby’s tooth erupts, brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a smear-sized amount of toothpaste. A pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste can be used once your child learns to spit out, usually after the age of two. When your child is old enough to hold a toothbrush, you can start taking turns brushing. Show them how to brush the tops, the front and the back of the teeth, and how to move the toothbrush in small circles or from top to bottom. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing before bedtime. As soon as two of your baby’s teeth are touching, you should start gently flossing between these teeth to remove any plaque and food left behind with brushing alone.
Avoid putting your baby to bed with a baby bottle or sippy cup filled with anything other than water. Also, skip sugary and acidic drinks, including juice, soda, and sports drinks to prevent early childhood cavities.
Baby teeth are only temporary, but they play an important role in your child’s growth and development. They hold the space for the permanent teeth to erupt and they help the facial structure develop correctly. Losing a baby tooth too early can cause another tooth to drift into the open space preventing a permanent tooth from erupting correctly. When baby teeth are damaged by tooth decay or gum disease, the infection can also damage the developing permanent tooth underneath.
Preventing Tooth Decay with Regular Checkups
Cavities form when food and sugar from drinks, such as juice, milk, and sports drinks stay on teeth long enough to allow bacteria to release acid and dissolve tooth enamel. Many children are at a high risk for tooth decay because they have thinner enamel that is not fully mineralized yet and because many of them are not diligent brushers.
Your child should visit the dentist every six months for examinations and cleanings. To keep teeth strong and to repair early damage to the dental enamel, we recommend a fluoride varnish application right after the dental cleaning. Fluoride remineralizes tooth enamel weakened by acid, and it hardens enamel making it more resistant to acid attacks. Tooth sealants are also effective in cavity prevention because they “seal” the deep grooves on the top of your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years but will be monitored at your regular checkups.
I have taken my son to this dental office for over a year. He’s 6 now and I was very worried about him having a traumatic experience. This dental office makes me feel so relaxed and is so professional and thoughtful when working with my son. It’s been a great experience.Vanessa L.