How to look after your child’s baby teeth
Many parents have questions about their child’s baby teeth, like when should they start seeing a dentist and what age their child will begin to lose their baby teeth. Find the answers to these questions and more in our latest blog post.
When do baby teeth start coming in?
Most babies develop their first tooth around six months of age. A baby’s lower teeth usually come in first, followed by other incisor teeth in the front of the mouth. It can take three years before your child has a full set of teeth as molars take the longest to come in.
Every child’s development is different and yours may get their baby teeth sooner or later than these timeframes. If you are worried about your child’s teeth development, you can always book an appointment with a dentist. Dental appointments are free until your child turns eighteen.
When will your child lose their teeth?
Most children begin to lose their baby teeth around six years old. They will continue to develop their adult teeth until around twelve years old. During this time the number of teeth in their mouth increases from twenty baby teeth to thirty-two adult teeth (including four wisdom teeth).
Just because your child will lose their baby teeth doesn’t mean you should take their oral health for granted. In fact, establishing good oral hygiene habits in your children means they are more likely to take care of their adult teeth.
Once all of their adult teeth have come in your dentist will be able to see what their bite looks like and can plan for orthodontics if needed.
When should you start teaching your child to brush their teeth?
Your baby will need their teeth brushed as soon as their first tooth erupts. Once they become a toddler you can teach them to hold a toothbrush and how to brush their teeth in front of a mirror. Children learn by doing which makes this an important step in their motor skills and self-development. As your child won’t be able to effectively brush their teeth, you should follow up by brushing any parts they may have missed.
Children need help cleaning their teeth up until around seven years old. At this age, although they may know how to brush their teeth, it’s still a good idea to supervise them. This will ensure they are brushing for long enough and are cleaning all sides of their teeth.
What is proper tooth brushing technique?
Brushing your teeth together is a simple way to teach kids how to brush. Make sure your child has a child’s toothbrush and give them plenty of encouragement while they learn. While brushing probably comes naturally to you as an adult, here is a refresher on how to brush:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle just below the gum line.
- Brush backward and forward in small strokes starting at the gumline and brushing down or up towards the opening of your mouth.
- Brush all sides of your teeth including the front surface, inner surface of the tooth and the tops of the teeth. Don’t forget the inside of your front teeth.
- Brush your teeth for two full minutes every time you brush.
- Brush your tongue from back to front once you have finished brushing your teeth.
Why is it important for your baby to see a dentist?
As soon as a child has teeth, they are at risk of developing oral health problems. Most babies cut their first tooth at around six months old. This means, as a parent, you need to ensure their teeth are looked after from a very young age.
There are some milestones that your child can achieve before you schedule an appointment with the dentist, including cutting their first tooth. However, most experts agree that you should bring your baby in to see a dentist once they have their first tooth or by their first birthday.
You don’t have to wait until your baby has a full set of teeth to see the dentist. Even without teeth, babies can develop gum issues that can affect their teeth as they grow. Starting dental visits early ensures that your baby’s oral health is in good condition.
Bringing your child to the dentist at a young age means your dentist can keep an eye on the development of their teeth and jaw. It also gets your child comfortable with visiting the dentist and establishes oral health as something that is important.
What to expect at your baby’s first dental appointment
Your baby’s first dental appointment will last around half an hour. Your dentist may ask you about your baby’s dental history, or any symptoms you may have noticed with their teeth and gums.
Your dentist will also examine your baby’s mouth, teeth, bite and gums to see how they are developing and will also give your child’s teeth a gentle clean.
They will also answer any questions you have about cleaning or flossing your child’s teeth as they continue to come through.
How to prepare your child for their first dental appointment
Try to book a dental appointment at a time that you know your baby or child won’t be tired. We know this isn’t a foolproof plan, but this can make the appointment more pleasant for them. Making sure your child has eaten before their appointment is also a good idea. Just make sure to brush their teeth before they arrive.
Most children are wriggly getting their teeth examined when they are young. Your dentist may need a hand ensuring that your child is comfortable. Many young children want to be examined sitting in their parent’s lap and this can make the experience feel less scary. Either way, making your child feel as comfortable as possible is a big help.
You can help normalise the visit by avoiding speaking negatively about the dentist. As your child gets older, they will naturally become more comfortable with each visit. Keeping up regular visits helps them get used to being examined and will ensure any problems with their teeth and gums are caught early.
Do you need a dental appointment for your child? Book now with Gentle Dental.