A child’s teeth are so important, and their long-term dental health is dependent on what happens before they even get their first tooth.
Practicing daily dental hygiene on your infant starts with gently cleansing their gums with a damp washcloth after they feed. Brushing should begin when they get their first tooth.
What about dental visits? Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be around the time they get their first tooth or their first birthday, whichever comes first. The “well-baby checkup” includes:
A child has 20 primary teeth present in their jaw at birth. Their first tooth will appear between six and 12 months. Most children have a full set of 20 teeth by the time they’re three years old. Every child is different, but the first teeth that typically come in are the upper and lower front teeth.
Babies experience gum tenderness and discomfort when their teeth come in (teething). You can ease their discomfort by gently rubbing their gums with:
A clean teething ring can provide some relief, too. If you’ve tried these remedies and your child is still cranky and in pain, we recommend giving our office a call or visiting your physician.
Some people don’t think that baby teeth are that important because they’re going to come out anyway. However, a child’s teeth are vital to the health and development of their adult dentition.
Baby teeth help your child chew, speak, and smile. They also hold space in the jaws for the permanent teeth, which are growing beneath the gums, so that they come in properly.
When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space leaving little room for other adult teeth to come in as they’re meant to. The result is crooked, crowded teeth.
Taking care of your baby’s teeth now can ensure they stay in until the time that they’re supposed to come out, thereby giving your child a better chance of reducing their risk of malocclusion and needing future orthodontic treatment.
Here are some steps you can take to care for your child’s teeth from infancy to six years of age (or whenever you’re comfortable letting them brush on their own).
Until you’re sure that your child can thoroughly brush all of their teeth on their own, continue to brush their teeth twice a day for them.
As soon as your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin helping them floss daily.
Dr. Kristi Seibel earned her DMD degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. After working some years as a general dentist, Dr. Seibel returned to Tufts to specialize in her first love, pediatric dentistry. Her training included treating children, young adults, and special needs patients at New England Medical Center, the Cotting School, and Brookline Dept. of Health Dental Clinic.
Dr. Thaker is passionate about providing the highest quality of dental care to children in the most comfortable atmosphere possible. Dr. Thaker has continued her education by taking several courses throughout the years to stay informed about the newest and most proven research and developments in the field of pediatric dentistry.
It’s very common to have questions about taking care of your baby’s teeth, especially if you’re a first-time parent. We want to help! Our team is happy to sit down with you and answer all your questions. Our hope is to provide you with some peace of mind while giving you confidence that you’re doing everything you can to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy.