A child's dental care really starts with his or her mother's healthy pregnancy, because baby teeth begin to form before birth. If you are pregnant, make sure to eat a balanced, nutritious diet and get an adequate amount ofvitamins and minerals. It's important for pregnant women to have a complete dental exam and have any cavities orgum disease treated.Infants & Toddlers
Your child's first teeth (primary teeth ) usually begin to break through the gums (erupt) at about 6 months of age, although the timing varies among children. All of the 20 primary teeth should come in between the age of 6 months and 3 years. Your child will lose his or her primary teeth between the ages of 6 and 11.
Your child's first permanent teeth (molars) usually erupt behind the primary teeth at about age 6. The last permanent teeth usually erupt between the ages of 12 and 21.
Starting to visit a dentist
By the time your child is 6 months of age, your doctor should assess the likelihood of your child having future dental problems. This may include a dental exam of the mother and her dental history, as the condition of her teeth can often predict her child's teeth. If the doctor thinks your child will have dental problems, be sure your child sees a dentist by his or her first birthday or 6 months after the first primary teeth appear , whichever comes first. After your first visit, schedule regular visits every 6 months or as your dentist recommends.
Experts recommend that your child see a dentist by your child's first birthday. Babies with dental problems caused by injury, disease, or a developmental problem should be seen by a children's (pediatric) dentist right away. If these dental problems are not limited to the surfaces of the teeth, your baby should also be seen by a children's doctor (pediatrician) or your family doctor.
Dental Care Checklist
√ Take your infant to the dentist by age 1.
Schedule your child's first dental visit by the age of 1 or after a first tooth erupts.
√ Clean your infant's gums.
Use gauze to clean your baby's gums after feedings and at bedtime. Ideally, this should be done even before your child's first tooth erupts.
√ Brush baby teeth.
Once your child's baby teeth erupt, brush them with a small soft- bristled toothbrush and a pea- sized amount of toothpaste after feedings and at bedtime.
√ Floss baby teeth.
When two baby teeth erupt side by side, gently floss them at least once a day (preferably before bedtime).
√ Wean your baby from the bottle.
Ask your pediatrician or dentist when you should stop breastfeeding. If your baby is bottle-fed, wean your child from the bottle by the age of 1.
Keep an eye on:
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay --
The health of your infant's baby teeth is important to the healthy growth of their permanent teeth. To keep your infant's teeth healthy be sure to clean them after feedings, and avoid putting your baby to bed with formula or fruit juice (these contain decay- causing sugars); use water instead.
Signs of Teething --
Your baby's first tooth can erupt, or "cut," as early as three months and as late as a year. On average, babies experience their first tooth at about 7-months old. The symptoms of teething can vary greatly from child to child, but if your baby becomes increasingly irritable or starts drooling, biting and coughing more than normal he or she could be teething. Try giving your baby a teething ring or bottle of cold water for relief. If the symptoms don't subside, ask your pediatrician advise.
Excessive Pacifier Use --
Pacifiers are great for soothing your baby, helping your baby sleep and providing them with a harmless distraction. But if your infant uses a pacifier for more than three years, he or she may develop dental problems such as slanted teeth or a misaligned bite later on. If you have a difficult time weaning your baby from pacifier use, ask your dentist about alternative ways to give the comfort your child craves.