You can expect your baby’s teeth to begin erupting between 6 months to 1 year of age. Even before their teeth erupt, you can begin cleaning the gums with a warm wash cloth. Once a tooth erupts, you can start brushing twice a day with a soft-bristle infant tooth brush and just a dab of fluoridated children’s toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). Once a child turns 2 you can use a “pea-sized” smear of fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure to never put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk or formula as this can lead to early childhood tooth decay!
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child see a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday. This will give Dr. Bright the opportunity to educate you on home oral hygiene and provide dietary counseling that can help your child avoid cavities. We will discuss dental milestones to expect as your child grows and his or her needs change. Establishing a dental relationship early on will allow your child to become more comfortable in the clinic setting.
By the age of three, your child should have all twenty of their baby teeth! At this stage, kids may want to brush their own teeth; however, until they still need your help. Remember to brush with fluoridated children’s toothpaste twice a day, and limit sugary snacks and juices as much as possible. If your child has a habit such as thumb sucking or pacifier use it may be time to talk with Dr. Bright about ways to help your child give up the habit in order to avoid bite problems.
Start saving now because around the age of six the Tooth Fairy will start making multiple visits to your home! You can expect your child to begin losing the upper and lower incisors around this time as well as adult molars to begin appearing just behind their primary molars. This is a great time to talk with Dr. Bright about dental sealants, which are recommended at this age. Sealants are an effective way to prevent cavities in the adult molars.
By the time your child becomes a teenager you can expect for them to have all of their adult teeth. With all of the other changes associated with becoming a teenager, you can expect diet and habit changes as well. Without being able to constantly monitor what your child may be eating throughout the day and when they actually brush, adolescent cavities can become a real risk. Dr. Bright can help keep your teen cavity free and also help identify bite problems that need to be addressed by an orthodontist.