Start your Children’s Oral Health Care Early

Health teeth are key to a healthy childhood.  Kids need healthy teeth for chewing, proper digestion, speaking clearly, and looking good.  It is important to recognize that the oral care needs of your child evolves dramatically as their teeth and gums develop and change, and as their dexterity improves.  Here are some tips to help you with each stage of your child’s development:

Stage 1:  Baby’s first teeth (4-24 months)

  • Even before they have teeth, infants should have their gums cleaned regularly. Use a gauze pad or infant washcloth after feedings and before bedtime.
  • Start brushing your baby’s teeth when the first one appears (usually between four months and one year).
  • Children should first go to the dentist sometime between the eruption of their first tooth and their first birthday. Our doctors wants to make your child familiar with our office and makes the first visit fun and informative.
  • Avoid putting your baby to bed with his or her bottle.

Stage 2:  Little kids learning to brush (2-4 years)

  • By the time your child is three years old, he or she should have a complete set of 20 baby teeth.
  • Around age three, your child should be learning to brush using a simple brushing technique – such as a small circular brushing motion. However, make sure you brush for them afterward to ensure their teeth and gums are properly cleaned.
  • Use only a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste, and teach them to spit out excess paste so they don’t swallow it.

Stage 3:  More independent brushers (5-7 years)

  • While your child is becoming more independent, brushing still needs supervision. Brushing together creates a consistent and fun environment for brushing.
  • Encourage him or her to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, concentrating on the chewing surfaces and back teeth, where cavities often first develop.
  • Children’s first permanent molars erupt in the back of the mouth at around age six.

Stage 4:  Pre-teens with a mixture of primary and permanent teeth (8 years and up)

  • Brushing should be supervised until the child has developed good brushing habits – even then there should be parental reinforcement.
  • The process of replacing primary teeth with permanent teeth can create challenges for your child. Gums are often tender and there are often gaps and tight spaces present, which can be difficult to clean properly.  It is also the period in which orthodontic braces may be fitted.  Make sure your child is brushing thoroughly.
  • By age 12 or 13, your child will have 28 of their 32 permanent teeth. The wisdom teeth may erupt from around age 16.

Get your child’s teeth and gums checked at least every six months for good oral health.  Dr. Tully or your hygienist will recommend when to begin flossing your child’s teeth.  Fluoride treatments are also recommended at each hygiene visit.


Source:  Dental Essential.