Oral health care is important at every age, even before babies get their first tooth. At Young Family Dental, our pediatric dentists provide care for infants and young children to maintain optimal oral health, including preventive care and instruction on building healthy habits that will set them up for good oral hygiene for the rest of their lives. Read on to learn more about how you can care for your child’s smile and when they should see the dentist.
The Teeth of a Child
To better understand what teeth are coming in and when, here is a list of the different types of teeth:
- Incisors: the front teeth located in both the upper and lower jaws. Each incisor has a thin, cutting edge. They come together like a pair of scissors to cut and chew the food.
- Canines: the pointy teeth on both sides of the incisors in both the upper and lower jaws. These are used to tear food.
- Premolars: these are the teeth that have flat surfaces to crush food.
- Molars: larger than the premolars, these have broad, flat surfaces that grind food.
How a Child Teeths
The teething process can look different from kid to kid. While one child may begin teething at only a few months old, other children may not begin teething until they are one year old. Although the timing of teething is different for each child, there is a general timeline of how teeth erupt and come in:
- The two front teeth (central incisors) in the lower jaw are typically the first to appear. Usually this happens within the ages of 6 to 10 months. The two front teeth in the upper jaw erupt between 8 and 13 months.
- Lateral incisors, which are the teeth on each side of the central incisors, erupt in both jaws usually between the ages of 8 and 16 months. The lower set tends to come in before the upper set does.
- The first set of upper and lower molars erupt from the ages of 13 and 19 months.
- Canine teeth sit beside the lateral incisors and come in both the upper and lower jaws between the ages of 25 and 33 months.
- The second set of upper and lower molars erupt between the ages of 25 and 33 months.
Dental Care for Your Child
The most common illness in children is tooth decay. The statistics of children’s dental cay are concerning, with about 1 in 5 children suffering from decayed teeth. However, the good news is that cavities and tooth decay are entirely preventable.
To prevent decay from occurring in your children, it’s important as parents and caregivers to understand what you need to do to take care of your child’s teeth beginning soon after birth. Some of the important dental hygiene steps to take include:
- Cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping their gums once in the morning and once again at night with a clean, damp cloth to remove bacteria before they even have teeth.
- Brushing your baby’s newly erupted teeth with a small, soft-bristled brush and water only.
- Once they are toddlers, you can begin brushing children’s teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Talking with your dentist about fluoride supplements to strengthen and protect their smile.
- Getting dental sealants on your child’s teeth to prevent cavities.
Other tips for caregivers to help prevent decay from happening include:
- Limiting the amount of sugary drinks and milk in bottles, especially at bedtime.
- Teaching your child to use a sippy cup rather than a bottle once they turn one year old.
- Limiting the amount of sugar in your child’s diet, especially sweet snacks between meals.
Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when they get their first tooth or when they turn 1, whichever happens first. During that first visit, our pediatric dentist will examine your child’s mouth, teeth, and gums and look for any potential bite and oral health issues. We will also help you understand how you can better care for your child’s teeth and when you can expect to bring them back in for a checkup. These visits, even though they are simple and don’t include a lot of dental care, are important for making sure your child becomes comfortable with the dentist and that they are developing a healthy smile as they get older.
Make an Appointment with Young Family Dental
If your child is ready for their first or next dentist appointment, call to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric dentists at any of our five locations in Orem, American Fork, Saratoga Springs, Riverton, or West Jordan.