When should my baby grow her first teeth?
How can I make sure that my baby grows strong teeth?
What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
How often should my child brush her teeth?
Which is a good toothpaste to use?
How do children get cavities?
How can I prevent tooth decay caused by nursing?
How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?
What are dental sealants?
How do dental sealants work?
How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth
How safe are dental X-rays?
What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
Baby teeth start developing during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
The growing of teeth into the mouth is referred to as tooth eruption. Different teeth develop and erupt at different ages. Typically, baby's first teeth erupt at 6 months of age. However, some babies may have them earlier or later by a few months. This is quite normal. By 12 months your baby can have 8-12 teeth including some back teeth. By the age of 18 months, your child will have all front teeth and most of his back teeth. Your child should have a complete set of teeth, a total of 20, by the age of 2-3 years.
A healthy pregnancy is important for healthy baby teeth. Make sure to have regular balanced meals and healthy snacks to get the variety of food needed for proper nutrition. More specifically, calcium-containing foods such as milk are essential during tooth development.
Daily oral hygiene should start early in life before teeth come in. You should wipe the gums with a clean damp cloth or gauze immediately after feedings. Once the teeth have erupted, any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used. Once all the baby teeth are in, flossing should be done at least once a day especially before bedtime.
Brushing should start when the first teeth come into the mouth. Teeth should ideally be brushed immediately following each meal or snack.
Very young children who are not able to rinse and spit should use toothpastes without fluoride. After about 2 years of age or when the back baby teeth are in and when a child can spit, children's toothpaste with fluoride can be used for brushing, in a small pea size amount. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
Certain bacteria in the mouth use sugar from foods and make acid. That acid can dissolve teeth and cause cavities.
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to a dentist regularly to have their teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to practice thorough oral hygiene following eating. Parents must brush the teeth of young children. Older children can brush by themselves under parental supervision. These home practices, along with regular dental visits and a balanced diet can help to avoid cavities.
Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay.
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday.
Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, your dentist may recommend a mouth appliance.
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that dentists can place on teeth in order to prevent cavities in those teeth. They work by sealing small pits and grooves on teeth and thus prevent food from getting into those grooves. Sealants are most useful if placed soon after the teeth have fully erupted. They require very little time to place and do not require any freezing of teeth.
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
Have your dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.
Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of cold milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the dentist.
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.
A family dentist is a practitioner who can address the common dental needs of individuals of all age groups, including children. A family dentist might seek the assistance of a specialist by referring the adult or child for certain dental procedures which might be difficult due to the nature of the condition, age or medical condition of the individual. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
A check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
Content provided by:
Dr. Gajanan (Kiran) Kulkarni BDS, LL B, M Sc, D Ped Dent, Ph D, FRCD(C)
Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry
Faculty of Dentistry
University of Toronto