The Early Years - Dental Care for your Child
Did you know that we all get two sets of teeth FREE, generally speaking!!! During the sixth - eighth week of fetal development, the first set of teeth (Primary or baby teeth) are already forming; during the twentieth week of fetal development , the second set of teeth (Permanent or adult teeth) are forming as well !!
By the time your baby is 6-8 months, the first set, “Primary” teeth, have started to erupt (teething), and all 20 should be in place by age 3. The second set, “Permanent” teeth (molars), start to erupt around age 6, and the “Primary” teeth (bottom front-incisors) began to exfoliate around age 7. The teeth will continue to play tag up to age 12-13, until the final Permanent teeth (3 molars/ Wisdom teeth) complete the process around age 17.
- When do I start care?
As a parent, you start to care for those teeth before your special gift arrives by eating a well- balanced diet, avoiding unhealthy habits (smoking, drug/alcohol consumption), and developing healthy oral hygiene for yourself.
The primary and permanent teeth play a vital role in your child’s development. Without them, a child cannot chew properly, nor speak clearly. Primary teeth help to guide the permanent teeth into place, therefore, Primary teeth are just as important!
- What should I do to protect my child’s teeth?
Monitor your baby during the teething process. Gums are often very sore and tender and irritability is inevitable. Massage the gums with a clean finger, cold wet cloth, or teething ring. As teeth began to erupt, monitor the teeth and keep clean with a clean damp cloth or soft infant toothbrush. Limit the amount of sugary liquids (milk, juices ) during the day and avoid while sleeping. A bottle containing sugary liquids left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay.
Schedule your child’s first dental visit by his/her first birthday. The purpose of the first visit (Meet and Greet/Look and See) is to get both child and parent comfortable with the environment, doctor and staff. A pleasant first visit builds trust, and puts both child and parent at ease for future visits (Meet and Greet/Look and See/Show and Tell). Each visit should build upon the last. Child and parent will always be encouraged to ask questions and express any fears or concerns.
Maintain your child’s oral hygiene on a daily basis with consistent brushing and regular dental check-ups.