Taking Care of Baby Teeth

January 15, 2016

 

When should my child get their first baby tooth?

 This can vary significantly child to child.  But typically between 6  months to 1 year.


Click here to see the eruption chart provided by the ADA.

 

Why are Baby Teeth important?

Primary teeth often called "Baby Teeth" are important for many reasons.  Children learn how to eat and chew solid foods with these teeth.  They also learn to develop speech using these teeth.  One of the most important things they do is act as space holders for the permanent teeth that are growing underneath the gums.  If these teeth are lost too early, the empty space will often be closed  by the neighboring teeth.  When this happens, there is not room for the permanent tooth to erupt when the time is right.  This is why infant oral care is so important.

 

What should I do to take care of my child's baby teeth?

Start caring for their gums right away by wiping them with a wet wash cloth to clean.  When their first tooth erupts, usually around 6 months, begin brushing twice per day.  

 

For children under the age of 3, parents should start brushing as soon as teeth erupt using a child sized toothbrush or finger brush.  You may use fluoride toothpaste but the size of a grain of rice placed on the brush.  It is recommended to be brushing at least twice a day, in the morning and at night.  At this point, parents should still be brushing for the child.  They can brush on their own if they would like to help develop those habits but it is important that a parent brushes before or after doing a thorough job.  

 

For children 3-6 years of age, you can use fluoride toothpaste smaller than the size of a pea.  An adult still helping to brush is important, children don't quite have the manual dexterity yet to do it on their own.  At this age, we want to be encouraging spitting and not swallowing the toothpaste, too.  Once the teeth start to touch, it is important to begin flossing.  The new floss holders make flossing little teeth in little mouths a lot easier.  Click here for an example, these come in fun sizes, crab, elephant, dolphin and monkey.  Flossers like these can be found at target, the grocery store, or even amazon like the one above.

 

Adult supervision is recommended beyond the age at which children have the capability to brush their own teeth.  Sometimes they tend to only brush the teeth they see and need to practice getting all the nooks and cranies.  It is recommended that an adult still spot check and see how they are doing and encourage them to get the areas they are missing or assist in brushing themselves.

 

 

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