Dental Care For Infants And Children
When Should Dental Care Begin? We feel that your child’s first visit should be at approximately 24 months unless you see signs of tooth problems. Some children may need more frequent evaluations and care.
In accordance with this recommendation, the following dental checklist for infants and toddlers has been provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:
Birth to 6 months of age:
Clean the infant’s mouth with gauze after feedings and at bedtime. Consult your child’s pediatrician regarding fluoride supplements. Regulate feeding habits (bottle-feeding and breastfeeding).
6 to 18 months of age:
During this time, the first tooth should appear. Brush teeth after each feeding and at bedtime with a small, soft-bristled brush. As the child begins to walk, stay alert of potential dental and/or facial injuries. Wean the child from breast or bottle by his/her first birthday.
18 to 24 months of age:
Generally, dental examinations and cleanings are recommended every 6 months for children and adults.
As your child learns to rinse his/her mouth, and as most deciduous (baby) teeth have erupted by this age, brushing with a pea-sized portion of fluoridated toothpaste becomes appropriate.
Facts About Deciduous Teeth
- Proper care of a child’s deciduous teeth (also known as “baby” or primary teeth) is very important as these teeth hold space for the future eruption of permanent teeth.
- If a baby tooth decays or is removed too early, the space necessary for the permanent teeth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment.
- Infected baby teeth can cause permanent teeth to develop improperly resulting in stains, pits, and weaker teeth.
Most children begin losing their baby teeth around the age of 6; usually the front bottom teeth first. They continue to lose baby teeth until the age of 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally come through.
Thumb-Sucking and Dental Health
Generally, thumb-sucking before the age of two is normal and harmless. When thumb-sucking is not stopped by the appropriate age (generally by the age of five) then parents should discourage the act. Prolonged thumb-sucking may contribute to crowded and/or crooked teeth development and bite problems.
Diet and dental care for children
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the following to ensure your child eats correctly to maintain a healthy body and teeth: Shop smart. Do not routinely stock your pantry with sugary or starchy snacks. Buy “fun foods” just for special times. Limit the number of snack times; choose nutritious snacks. Provide a balanced diet, and save foods with sugar or starch for mealtimes. Do not put your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice. If your child chews gum or sips soda, choose those without sugar.