Milestones in Children’s Dental Health
Children’s teeth are different from those of adults, and as parents, we want to make sure that our kids are getting the best dental care they need at the right time. In this article, we will discuss important milestones in infants’ and toddlers’ dental health, including the age range these milestones should take place and how you can best take care of your child’s teeth during these phases. This article will cover infancy to six years of age.
Baby Teeth (Teething)
During the teething process, baby teeth push through the gums and begin to form, starting your child’s earliest oral health needs. Babies usually begin the teething process at six months. Unfortunately, this can be very painful for them, as the emerging sharp teeth poke through the gum holes. Symptoms of teething include irritability, excessive crying, sore gums, chewing on solid objects, and drooling.
There are several easy ways you can help soothe sore gums. A cool teething ring, for example, can help your baby. However, do not give your child a frozen teething ring, as contact with that extreme cold can harm them. You can also rub your baby’s gums using a sterile gauze pad. Allow your baby to chew on hard objects whenever he or she wants, as this helps to sooth them. But, be careful of sharp edges that can accompany these solid objects. Ask your dentist about possible children’s pain relievers for your infant.
Note: avoid pain relievers with benzocaine in them. Also avoid homeopathic pain relievers. Both of these are discouraged by the FDA. Also, the supposition that parents have that teething can cause fevers is untrue, according to a recent study. If your baby has a fever, you should take him or her to the doctor to have that looked at.
It’s important to brush your child’s teeth. When teeth first appear, it is okay to wait and use a washcloth on the gums. Some dentists recommend that parents wait until at least four teeth show up before engaging in the brushing process. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush, which you should replace at least every three to four months. Start flossing once teeth that touch emerge.
Bottle-Feeding and Teeth
Bottle-feeding is normal for many babies. Don’t allow your baby to have a diet that is high in sugar. If your baby has a diet that is high in sugar, that can cause tooth decay, particularly when this sugar is ingested through a bottle. Take care that your baby’s jaw is developing well; if the bottle seems to be causing problems, you may need to discontinue it.
Watching Out for Thumb-Sucking
It’s also very normal for babies and toddlers to suck their thumbs. Once permanent teeth start coming in, thumbsucking can cause problems with the tooth alignment and growth. Most children stop sucking their thumbs at around two to four years of age. Check out these ADA tips for helping your child stop sucking his or her thumb.
Adult and Baby Teeth: Mixed Dentition & How to Handle It
As baby teeth begin to be lost and adult teeth come in, your child will have mixed dentition (baby and adult teeth in the same mouth). Permanent teeth can continue to form until an adult is 21. If you notice your child’s teeth start to crowd, make sure that you take them to the dentist to see what he or she has to say. When your child loses a tooth, make sure to keep the empty spot clean in order to ensure that there is no infection.
Your child’s oral health is very important, particularly as they grow from baby to toddler. Make sure that you’re using just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for brushing, and take your child to the dentist regularly.