How do I care for my child’s teeth?

July 09, 2018 by Dr. Andrew Smyth  •  Original Post

Good oral care begins before a baby's first tooth.

Babies are born with all their teeth. You can't see them because they are hidden in the gums. Baby teeth start to break through the gums around 6 months. But it is important to start good oral care even before the first tooth comes in. From healthy gums come healthy teeth.

Kids have all their baby teeth by age 3. These are called primary teeth. Baby teeth start falling out around age 6; that's when the permanent, or adult, teeth start coming in. Gaps between baby teeth are normal. They make room for the permanent teeth. Most permanent teeth come in by age 13.

Bottle Tooth Decay is a serious problem.

Bottle Tooth Decay can happen if babies drink milk, formula, or juice out of bottles over long periods of time.

To avoid it:

Take the bottle away after your baby is done drinking.
Don't put your baby to bed with a bottle.

Here are some tips to keep kids' teeth healthy and strong:

0–2 years

Wipe gums with a washcloth after feeding. This will help get rid of the sticky coating called plaque that can cause tooth decay.
Brush teeth twice a day with water and a soft-bristle toothbrush.
Schedule first dental appointment before first birthday.

3-5 Years

Start using fluoride toothpaste at age 3
Use only a pea-sized amount. Make sure your child spits it out after brushing.
Try to break thumb-sucking and pacifier habits by age 4.
Start visiting your dental team every 6 months.

6–9 years

Begin flossing as soon as teeth touch.
Let your child know that it's normal for baby teeth to fall out. That's how "grown-up" teeth come in.
Until children are able to practice proper oral health habits alone, parents should help their child brush and floss twice a day.
Always pay special attention to the back teeth, which may have more plaque.

10–12 years

Require children who play sports to wear a mouthguard to protect their smile.

13+ years

Parents can make the most of their teen's interest in how they look by reminding them that a healthy smile and fresh breath will help them look and feel their best.

Here are some tips

Encourage teens who wear braces to brush and floss thoroughly.
How teeth look when braces come off depends on how they're treated while the braces are on.
Suggest that teens carry a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss in their purse or gym bag for use during the day.

Quick tips for better oral health for kids

Start practicing good oral care even before the first tooth comes in. From healthy gums come healthy teeth.
Parents should schedule their child's first dental appointment before the first birthday and every 6 months starting at age 3.
It is important that children brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and begin flossing as soon as two teeth touch.
Children should limit sugary and sticky foods and drinks to protect against tooth decay.

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York Dental Clinic is a Fredericton, NB based dental clinic.

We're a full time family-based Fredericton dentist office offering all aspects of dentistry. Our dental practice offers personal attention, commitment to excellence and a no-nonsense approach to oral health. Our number one priority is your comfort and satisfaction. Your individual needs are always considered and your choices always respected.