At Guildford Heights Dental Centre, we believe in caring for children's baby teeth and teaching them oral hygiene early sets the foundation for great oral health for the rest of their lives. Today, our Surrey dentists offer tips for helping your young one keep a healthy smile.
Your little one is learning new things and growing every day. Early on, it's critical to care for your toddler's baby teeth and their smiles, as their early years can set the foundation for great oral health for the rest of their life. Today, we'll explain why baby teeth are important and how to help your toddler maintain a healthy smile.
Why are baby teeth important?
You may ask yourself why baby teeth matter since they are not permanent and will eventually fall out. The first baby teeth are usually the front bottom teeth and start to break through the gums around 6 months of age. The last baby teeth are typically in the very back of the mouth in the upper jaw and come in around age 3, when your little one will likely have 10 top teeth and 10 bottom teeth.
Baby teeth play many essential roles in our young patients' mouths. They are used for speaking, eating and giving that thousand-watt smile that lights up the room. A child's baby teeth also hold space in the jaws for adult teeth.
Around age 6, your child will begin to lose their first baby tooth and adult teeth will start to emerge. The timing of this tooth loss is critical. If your child loses a baby tooth too early, contact your child's dentist about how the correct space can be kept in the mouth so the adult teeth will erupt normally.
How should I take care of baby teeth?
Now is the time to create a solid oral health care routine for your child. By combining at-home care with regular dental visits, you can help keep your child's smile healthy.
Brush twice per day (morning and night) to prevent cavities.
Wipe your newborn's gums with a wet pad or cloth to keep the mouth clean. For children under age 3, use a rice-sized grain of child-friendly toothpaste on an ultra-soft toothbrush. Increase this to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for children 3 years and older.
Once your child can spit out all of the toothpaste after brushing, switch to a fluoridated toothpaste (ask your dentist before switching). Help your child brush your teeth each time until you are sure that your child will thoroughly brush each tooth.
Visit your child's dentist regularly
We advise parents to book their child's first dental appointment no later than their first birthday. By this time the first baby tooth should have emerged. We'll check your child's mouth for plaque or cavities, when to expect your baby's next tooth and how to care for your child's teeth at home. Children should see the dentist every 6 months for a professional checkup and cleaning.
Limit sugary or acidic treats
Soda and fruit juice can be high in acid and sugar, which can hurt your child's baby teeth. Sugary treats such as candy should also be limited, since sugar can weaken the tooth enamel and increase your child's risk for cavities.
Look into dental sealants for your child
Sealants are special coatings applied to the pits and grooves of a child's molars (back teeth). These keep cavities from forming in a tooth's biting surfaces. Your dentist may recommend sealants if your child is at high risk for cavities.
Check into fluoride treatment
Fluoride is a proactive measure to help protect your child's teeth from cavities.
Once all the baby teeth have erupted, start flossing. We can offer special flossers for kids.
This is general advice. Certain children may have special circumstances and may need to see the dentist more often for checkups or cleanings.