When will my baby get his first tooth? When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth? When should my child have his/her first dental appointment? When will my child start losing teeth? My son’s/daughter’s friends have all lost teeth, but my child hasn’t; is this okay?
These are just some of the many questions that mothers (and fathers) ask about their child’s dental health. This article has compiled the answers to those questions from a variety of sources. As always, this information should not be seen as a diagnosis of anything or ultimate recommendation of treatment. You should always consult your family dentist if you have any questions or concerns.
More than 1 in 4 children in the United States have cavities by the age of 4. Some have cavities by the age of 2. In some cases, poor oral hygiene has combined with genetics in these situations. But it is important for parents to realize their role in looking after their children’s teeth from the moment they are born for their children to have a healthy mouth.
Good Brushing Habits
Good brushing habits start from the very beginning, from the very first feeding. Just a simple swipe of the tongue, gums and cheeks with a soft facecloth can clear away bacteria that might settle on the gums and cause infections.
Doing this right from the beginning gets the baby used to something being in their mouth and touching their tongue, lips, and gums.
As teeth start to come in, transition to a soft toothbrush and water (more details later).
If you bottle feed, do not let your baby go to bed with a bottle with milk, formula, juice or anything other than, perhaps, water. These drinks will leave bacteria and sugar on your baby’s gums and teeth and without proper rinsing overnight by saliva, cavities and gum disease can develop.
Many pediatric, general and family dentists can attest to the serious harm done to babies’ teeth because of these practices including the need for crown placement or other restorative techniques to keep the baby teeth in place until the permanent teeth are ready to take their place.