You may think that your child’s baby teeth are only there to keep the Tooth Fairy in business, but baby teeth are actually just as important as adult teeth. Baby teeth set the stage for future smiles by holding space in the jaw for when adult teeth are ready to erupt. At birth, your child already has their 20 baby teeth hidden in their gums. You should start seeing the eruption of the baby teeth, or primary teeth, around 6 months and a full set of baby teeth by age 3.
Teaching your child to care for their baby teeth is important for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Primary teeth help children to chew and speak, but one of their biggest jobs is keeping the space in the jaw for the permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can slide into the empty space and make it difficult for the other adult teeth to erupt in the correct spot. This can cause the adult teeth to be crooked and crowded. When children are taught to care for their baby teeth from infancy, they’re more likely to protect their teeth for decades to come.
To best care for your child’s teeth, cleaning should begin the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a wet cloth. Parents should begin brushing their child’s teeth twice a day as soon as they erupt to prevent tooth decay. You should also begin flossing daily. The American Dental Association recommends children seeing a dentist 6 months after the eruption of their first baby tooth to check for any problems. Proper oral care starts from a young age, by teaching your children the importance of oral hygiene, you can help ensure that they have a lifetime of healthy smiles.
If you have any questions about caring for your child’s baby teeth, the team at Sunshine Smiles is here to help! As your Melbourne pediatric dentist, we allow the first visit of any child under the age of 2 to be seen free of charge. To schedule your child’s first appointment, contact us today!