How can I keep my mouth healthy?
- Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the first primary, or baby teeth, erupt through the gums.
- All 20 of the primary teeth usually appear by age 3, although their pace and order of eruption varies.
- Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6.
- This process will continue until approximately age 21.
Oral health for children
To help ensure oral health and a lifetime of good oral care habits:
- Limit children’s sugar intake
- Make sure children get enough fluoride, either through drinking water or as a treatment at the dentist’s office
- Teach children how to brush and floss correctly
- Supervise brushing sessions and help with flossing, which can be a challenge for small hands
Major obstacles to children’s oral health
“Baby bottle tooth decay”
- Wipe gums with gauze or a clean washcloth and water after feeding.
- When teeth appear, brush daily with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
- Put child to bed with a bottle of water, not milk or juice
- Not a concern until about 4 years of age or when permanent teeth appear; after this time, it could cause dental changes
White spots on teeth
- As soon as the first tooth appears (at about 6 months), begin cleaning child’s teeth daily and schedule a dental appointment
Fear of the dentist
- Hold the child in the parent’s lap during the exam
Difficulty creating an oral care routine.
- Involve the whole family-brush together at the same time each day to create a good habit
Love of sweets
- Give children healthy snack options, like carrots, raisins, and yogurt
Stains from antibiotics
- Speak to the pediatrician before any medication is prescribed
- Make sure that teens brush well around braces, using a floss threader to remove all food particles
Oral accidents from sports
- Encourage children to wear mouth guards during sports