February is National Children's Dental Health Month.
The American Dental Association offers important things to know about your child's teeth.
There is an order of appearance of teeth, starting with the front bottom and top, and working it's way around. A baby is born with 20 teeth below their gums that start to typically show between 6 months and a year. Most children have a full set of teeth by three years old.
Teething is a process that most babies experience. It can cause drooling, fussiness and sleeplessness during the baby and toddler years which is perfectly normal. If your child experiences fever, diarrhea or rashes, it would be a concern and you should speak to your physician.
It is important to use fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth come through the gums. Decay can happen as soon as teeth appear. For kids 0-3 years old, the amount of toothpaste is equivalent to a grain of rice. For 3+ years, it is equivalent to the size of a pea. Find a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Kids need to floss too! If two teeth touch, it's time to start flossing.
You should never put your baby to bed with a bottle. Tooth decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth. Sugary drinks on the teeth at bedtime can promote tooth decay.
In addition, it's recommended not to share utensils with your child or "clean" a pacifier by putting it in your mouth. Cavity causing bacteria can be passed through saliva, which means you can be introducing germs to your child instead of protecting them. The same premise stands for sharing forks and utensils.
Water is the best beverage to give your child when they are thirsty. They should be drinking water with fluoride, as fluoride has been shown to reduce cavities by 25%. Sugary drinks (soda, sports drinks, juice) can cause cavities, contribute to weight gain and raise your child's insulin levels to an unhealthy level.
When should your child see the dentist for the first time?
When your child gets in their first tooth or first birthday, it's time for their first dental visit. As soon as your child gets teeth, they can get a cavity.
Ask your dentist about applying dental sealants to chewing surfaces of their teeth to seal out decay. They form an extra barrier between cavity-causing bacteria and teeth.
If you have any questions, please call and speak to one of our practitioners.
Source: American Dental Association Mouth Healthy