Maintaining your child’s dental health now will provide health benefits well into adulthood, as primary (baby) teeth serve some extremely important functions.
Primary teeth guide the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. The crowns (tops) of the permanent teeth actually push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to resorb, or melt away. In this way, the adult teeth can take their proper place.
For about the first six years, primary teeth help with biting, chewing and speaking. Until around age 12, your child will have a mix of primary and permanent teeth. You will want to make sure those teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally — when it’s time.
Inspired by her son, Dr. Fatina wrote “A Book About Teeth” to help parents find a fun way to teach their children about brushing, flossing, and all things oral health. (All new patients get a free copy!)
Your child’s 20 baby teeth will begin to appear usually between six and nine months, though in some cases it may start as early as three months or as late as twelve months. The two lower front teeth tend to erupt first, followed by the two upper ones. The first molars come in next, followed by the canines (eyeteeth). To help with teething discomfort, wipe your child’s gums and newly erupting teeth with a water-soaked gauze pad or damp washcloth.
Around age 2, we encourage you to establish a daily brushing routine with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and no more than a thin smear of fluoridated toothpaste. Your child may need your help with this important task until about the age of 6.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday to ensure all is progressing well. Early childhood caries (tooth decay) can develop rapidly, progressing from the hard, outer enamel layer of a tooth into the softer, inner dentin in six months or less.
Parents and educators can download and print these fun, fillable worksheets with their kids to help encourage good oral hygiene habits early.
Watch our YouTube videos where Dr. Fatina answers questions, discusses post-op details, and helps provide further information for parents with questions about their kids’ oral health.
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