Your baby’s oral health is vital from the time she is born, as she arrives in your arms with her teeth already hidden in her gums. The American Dental Association recommends that your baby be seen by a dentist six months after her first tooth emerges, and at the very least by her first birthday.
The primary teeth will push their way through the gum tissue and erupt into teeth you can see usually around six months. By the time your child is three years old, she will have all 20 primary teeth in place. The primary teeth start falling out by around age six, and replaced by the secondary, or adult teeth. By the time your child reaches 13 she will have her permanent teeth in place.
Gums: Begin caring for your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze along the gum line after a feeding. Dip the cloth in water so that it is damp, and wipe the gums gently.
Baby teeth: When your child’s teeth emerge, brush gently using a small, baby toothbrush with soft bristles and plain water several times a day. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, you should brush your baby’s teeth after breakfast and before bedtime. Never put her to bed with a bottle of juice (or milk). This can cause tooth decay and misalignment of the teeth from sucking.
Toothpaste: You can begin using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush around 24 months old, unless your dentist allows it earlier. She will need your help in cleaning her teeth until she develops the manual dexterity to do so around the age of six. If you want to encourage your child to build confidence, you can let her brush in the beginning of the session and you can finish the cleaning.
Dental floss: Your child will not need dental flossing until she has teeth with no space between them. You might want to begin flossing when your child is around two to two and a half, if she has at least two teeth touching. While your child can brush her teeth by herself by the time she is six, you will have to assist with flossing until she reaches 8-10 years old and can floss without supervision.
Your child’s healthy smile can last a lifetime with proper oral care. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, give our staff a call at 920.739.9612 today!