As a parent, trying to keep up with all the developmental milestones your child is going through from birth through their teenage years can be difficult. Our team at the Children’s Dental Center works with parents and children daily to improve their oral health and hygiene, so when it comes to dealing with baby teeth, we know all there is to know! From the teething process to sending in the tooth fairy, here’s everything you need to know about baby teeth.
When your child is born, they already have around 20 baby teeth beneath their gum line. As they get older, these teeth begin to grow in during a process called eruption. Your child might start teething as early as three months after birth, and this can be a painful process for your child.
If your child is teething, there are a few tips you can try to help soothe them:
- Let your child chew on something, like a soft toy or stuffed animal
- Use teething rings
- Gently rub your child’s gums with a clean finger or cold compress
Baby teeth are essential for structuring your child’s jaw. These teeth create space for adult teeth to come in in the future. You can expect your child to teeth until they’re around three years old. Their next milestone comes when they lose their first tooth.
Taking Care Of Your Child’s Baby Teeth
You may think that because your child’s teeth will fall out in a few years that their oral health isn’t as necessary until they’re older. In reality, oral hygiene is just as impactful for baby teeth as it is for adult teeth, if not more!
Baby teeth are made from a weaker enamel than adult teeth, so they’re more likely to decay if you neglect the proper hygiene habits. You should start your child’s oral hygiene routine even before their first baby tooth erupts by rubbing their gums with a damp washcloth or gauze.
Once their first tooth grows in, it’s time to introduce a very small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Use a baby toothbrush and a rice-sized amount of toothpaste to gently brush away leftover sugars in their mouths after eating. Remember that your child can’t spit out excess toothpaste at this age, so it’s important to use a tiny amount so they don’t swallow too much fluoride.
When your child is old enough to spit out excess toothpaste, around age three, you can begin to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Be sure to model healthy oral hygiene habits for your child! They’re much more likely to stick with a plan that they see you follow through with every day, and watching you take care of your teeth will encourage them to do the same as they get older.
Losing Baby Teeth
Calling all tooth fairies! Another huge development in a child’s life comes when they lose their first tooth. Baby teeth usually begin to fall out when children are around six years old and will continue to fall out until they’re around age twelve. This process takes time as some teeth naturally grow in and fall out earlier than others, depending on where they are located in your child’s mouth.
If your child is experiencing discomfort while they are losing their baby teeth to make way for their permanent ones, here are a few tips to help:
- Use gauze to cover the sensitive gums and stop bleeding after they’ve lost a tooth
- Use a cold, damp compress to help with the pain
- Rinse with a saltwater solution to clean the affected area
If you have questions about the rate your child is losing teeth or how to care for them, the Children’s Dental Center is always a phone call away!
Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should bring your child in to meet with one of our Children’s Dental Center dentists by their first birthday. Doing so will help your little one get used to the dentist’s office and reduce dental anxiety as they age. It also allows your dental team to give you tips and tricks for developing their oral hygiene from a young age.
You’ll meet the team during your child’s first appointment, and we’ll conduct an initial exam. Their first appointment will likely be quick, and you can sit with your child while we check for decay, early bite problems, or jaw issues.
We can’t overstate the importance of introducing your child to dental care while they are young! Good oral hygiene is linked to many other health issues. Early intervention allows the Children’s Dental Center to educate your child on hygiene habits and recognize if they need orthodontic treatment in the future.
Book Their First Appointment At The Children’s Dental Center!
If your child just started teething or hasn’t been to a dentist by their first birthday, it’s time to book their first appointment with our dentists at the Children’s Dental Center. With years of experience helping parents develop their children’s oral hygiene routines, our team has you covered.
Set your child up for success and schedule their first appointment at one of our locations in Collierville, Midtown, Arlington, or East Memphis today!