Did you know that dental care begins before a baby’s first tooth appears?
Just because you can’t see the teeth does not mean they are not there.
Baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development because the teeth help a child to chew, speak and have a pretty smile.
The baby teeth also hold the space in the jaw for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.
When a baby tooth is lost early, the other teeth can shift into the empty space and make it difficult for them to find room when the permanent tooth comes in. This causes the teeth to be crowded or even crooked.
Remember, your child’s baby teeth are like space maintainers that hold the space for the permanent teeth until they are ready to come in.
Keeping your child’s teeth healthy is vital to their overall dental and health care. Brushing twice each day for at least two minutes each time is a start.
The American Dental Association recommends the following steps to care for your child’s teeth:
- Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
- For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride 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 or physician. 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 or physician. 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 between their teeth daily.
A healthy diet is also important to a child’s dental care. It may seem impossible to avoid sugars in your child’s diet, but serving water instead of juice or soda can help. It’s also important to limit sugary snacks and find healthier alternatives.
A lifetime of healthy, happy smiles starts before the first tooth appears. By following a few simple steps, parents can help their kids have healthy teeth and gums.
Is your child due for a check-up? Please contact our office today to schedule an appointment.