Good oral hygiene is a crucial aspect of maintaining overall health, regardless of age. Starting healthy oral care habits early sets the foundation for a lifetime of strong teeth and gums.
From the time your child is an infant, you can start caring for that cute little smile. Here, we answer your top questions about kids’ oral health, including when to start brushing their teeth, when they get adult teeth in, and whether it’s okay to pull a baby tooth when it’s loose.
When Should I Start Brushing My Child’s Teeth?
It’s never too early to begin oral hygiene practices for your child. Even before they have teeth, you can gently wipe their gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.
As soon as the first tooth appears, typically around six months, you should start brushing their teeth with an infant toothbrush and a tiny amount of toothpaste (about the size of half a grain of rice).
Initially, use toothpaste specifically made for babies that does not contain fluoride. Around the age of two, when children can spit out toothpaste, introduce a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a pea) .
When Will My Child Start Getting Their Permanent Teeth?
Between the ages of six and seven, primary teeth begin to fall out, making way for permanent teeth known as adult teeth. This process typically occurs over several years, and the timing can vary from child to child. However, by the age of 13, most kids will have all their permanent teeth.
Although baby teeth will fall out eventually, caring for them is still essential, as they help guide the permanent teeth into place and ensure they are healthy when they arrive !
Why Does My Baby Need to See the Dentist?
Regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining optimal oral health, and this includes for babies as well as for adults! The American Dental Association recommends taking your child for their first dental visit by their first birthday, or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. But why?
These visits allow the dentist to monitor tooth development, provide preventive care, and address any concerns promptly, providing a strong foundation for you to take the best care of your baby’s smile. Remember, children can develop tooth decay as soon as they have teeth, so working to prevent cavities is essential !
Is It Ever Appropriate to Pull a Baby Tooth?
Typically, baby teeth fall out on their own as permanent teeth push through the gums. However, if a baby tooth becomes extremely loose and causes discomfort, it is generally safe to help it along with a gentle wiggle.
Ensure your child is involved in the process and understands the importance of not forcing a tooth out prematurely. If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth or the timing of tooth loss, consult a pediatric dentist for guidance.
You Can Help Your Child Take the Best Care of Their Teeth
Establishing good oral care practices early in life sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Knowing when to start brushing, when adult teeth emerge, and whether to pull a loose baby tooth are essential aspects of kids’ oral health. Remember to prioritize regular dental visits and maintain consistent oral care routines to ensure a bright and healthy smile for your child’s future!