It's never too early for good dental care. With good tooth care, your child can grow up cavity-free. Start by caring for your baby's teeth. As he or she grows, teach your child the best possible tooth care. And don't forget that healthy teeth require regular visits to the dentist. Dr. Mansbridge Family Dentistry in Hamilton has some of the highest rated and honest family dentists in Stoney Creek.
Toddler Tooth Care
Unless you notice a problem, your child's first dental visit should around the age of 2. Before this first check-up, a "Practice" visit can be arranged to help your child get used to the dental office. A check-up and cleaning is then needed about twice a year.
A child's first teeth are called primary (baby) teeth. These teeth start to come in between 4 and 18 months of age. In many children, all baby teeth are in place by age 3. By age 6, the baby teeth begin to fall out. They are replaced by permanent (Adult) teeth. Most adult teeth are in place by the time the child is in his or her early teens.
The time when the baby teeth are coming in is called teething. During teething, your baby may be grouchy. He or she may drool more than usual and may chew on things to help feel better. Cold teething rings, pacifiers, and numbing creams can help make teething easier for your baby.
Let's Talk about Brushing
Food particles and bacteria form a sticky substance called plaque on teeth. Bacteria in the plaque make acid that eats away the tooth's enamel (hard coating). This causes tooth decay. Brushing keeps plaque from forming. Begin brushing your baby's teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. At first, use water and a piece of cotton gauze. as more teeth come in, use a small toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When the child is old enough to brush on his or her own, watch to be sure it's done right.
Flossing removes bacteria and plaque that brushing can't reach. Floss your child's teeth daily. When the child is old enough, a floss holder can help him or her floss.
Fluoride makes tooth enamel stronger. This helps prevent cavities. Does your community's water have fluoride added to it? If not, ask your dentist whether your child should be given fluoride supplements. Your dentist may also apply fluoride to your child's adult teeth at regular check-ups.
Sealants are a safe, painless, and low-cost way to help protect your child's back teeth from decay. A thin plastic coating is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves on the surface of the teeth.
Problems to Watch Out For
Problems with either the baby or adult teeth can harm your child's growing smile. So watch for signs of decay. And avoid things that may harm your child's teeth.
Never let your child sleep with a bottle. Bottle liquids (Even milk) that sit in the mouth can quickly cause tooth decay. Don't let your child drink or snack without brushing afterword.
Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers
Sucking on a thumb or pacifier is common and normal for a baby. But if either habit continues past age 4 or 5, it may lead to tooth or jaw problems. If your child uses a pacifier, an orthopaedic pacifier is best for the teeth and jaws.
When to Call the Dentist
- If an adult tooth is loose, call your dentist. If a tooth is knocked out, get emergency dental care. Don't wash the tooth. Put it in milk until it can be put back in place.
- Call the dentist if you notice brown or black spots on your child's teeth.
- Consult with your dentist if baby or adult teeth are crooked or fail to come in.
If your child is ready for their first dental appointment then book it today at (905) 662-6700. Dr. Mansbridge has years of experience with Children's first appointments and their teeth. Contact Us or stop by our office at 800 Queenston Road, Suite 18, Stoney Creek and make an appointment today.
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