Dental care is important at every age, and teaching your child healthy dental habits from the start will ensure healthy teeth for life. If you have questions about how to care for your child’s teeth, check out the five frequently asked questions from our experience in kids’ dentistry listed below.
When Should Your Child’s First Dentist Visit Be?
According to the American Dental Association, you should bring your child for their first dental checkup as soon as their first tooth erupts, which can be as early as six months of age. At the latest, whether the first tooth has erupted or not, your child should see the dentist by their first birthday. This first visit is mostly about getting to know your child and your child’s teeth. The dentist will check for decay or potential future problems. The dentist will also educate you on how you can keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Do You Really Need to Care for Primary Teeth?
Your child will naturally lose their primary teeth, so is it really that important to keep them healthy? Yes, it is. Primary teeth play an important role in your child’s life. For starters, they help your child chew and speak clearly. However, their job doesn’t end there. Primary teeth are place holders for permanent teeth. They create a path through which the adult teeth grow. If you fail to provide proper care for your child’s primary teeth, they may decay, which not only causes pain, but can actually affect the health of the developing adult teeth.
How Do You Care for Your Child’s Teeth?
To care for your child’s teeth, you need to teach good oral hygiene habits, promote a healthy diet that is low in sugar and take your child in for routine dental checkups. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a child’s toothbrush can begin when the first tooth erupts. At first, use a small bit of toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice. When your child is around three to six years, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. You’ll need to brush your child’s teeth until they get the hang of it, but make sure to monitor their brushing until they can properly brush unsupervised, which can be until a child is 6 years old.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Sealants are something your child’s dentist may recommend to help protect the back teeth. Back teeth have pits and fissures that make decay easy. These tiny crevices give bacteria and plaque a place to hide, which leads to tooth decay. Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are used to fill in these pits and fissures, giving bacteria no place to hide. Although sealants withstand daily chewing well, they do eventually wear down and need replacing. Even with sealants, you still need to take good care of your child’s teeth to avoid decay.
When Do the Permanent Teeth Erupt?
The first batch of permanent teeth (the first and second molars) erupt around the age of six and seven, but they don’t actually replace any primary teeth. This is because there are fewer primary teeth than permanent teeth. Except for the third molars, the rest of the permanent teeth usually replace the primary teeth by the age of 13. The third molars (commonly referred to as wisdom teeth) don’t appear until your child is older (between 17 and 20).
Don’t cheat your child out of a healthy smile for life. Take good care of your child’s teeth from the start by instilling healthy habits. If you would like more information regarding kids’ dentistry in Santa Cruz, contact Landmark Dental Group today.