One of the greatest joys of being a parent is watching your child grow in new and wonderful ways with each stage of development. That said, it can also be intimidating because there’s no rule book that lets you know what to expect and what to do at any given point. This can be especially true in regard to your children’s teeth! Many new parents aren’t sure when teeth grow in or what appropriate pediatric dental care looks like. With that in mind, we want to provide you with three facts that can help you give your child a strong and healthy smile.
Fact #1: Tooth Decay is the Most Common Childhood Disease
You might think you don’t have to worry as much about your child’s dental hygiene until their adult teeth grow in. The baby teeth fall out, after all, so what harm could they do?
The truth is that the CDC has reported that over half of children (52%) aged 6-8 years have had a cavity in their baby teeth. Even though they’ll eventually lose those teeth, bacteria from decay can spread to the surrounding teeth and jawbone. This can cause damage to the surrounding teeth and gums, not to mention it makes it harder for the adult teeth to grow properly later on. That means it’s important to keep their mouth germ-free so harmful microbes don’t thrive.
Fact # 2: Cavities Can Be Prevented Earlier Than You Knew
Although they are a common issue, cavities can be prevented! You can clear your child’s mouth of cavity-causing bacteria in a few ways. Firstly, you don’t need to wait for teeth to grow in! You can clean your baby’s gums by gently wiping them with an infant toothbrush or soft cloth twice a day. This will ensure that when the teeth do come, they don’t grow into an already germ-infested mouth.
Then, once teeth erupt, plan to brush them twice daily. Brushing your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste helps keep cavities at bay. The fluoride strengthens the enamel of their teeth so they are more resistant to decay.
Fact #3: Your Child Should See A Dentist At One Year Old
Although every child is unique, there are general timelines for when teeth develop. Typically, the lower front teeth pop out first, around 6-12 months old. The rest of their baby teeth should grow in over the next year or two.
Many parents don’t take their children to see a dentist until they already have a full mouth of teeth, which is longer than recommended. Because teeth play such a big role in helping your little one learn to speak and eat, it’s important to care for their pearly whites from the start. Their dentist can ensure that your child’s smile develops as it should over the coming years.
Hopefully, this information helps you feel better able to plan for your child’s oral health. With consistent dental care from the get-go, you can give your loved one the best chance at a healthy smile for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Michael Royse graduated with honors from The Oregon Health Sciences School of Dentistry in 1987, then completed a General Practice Residency at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California after 11 years of military service. He then completed the Fort George G. Meade DENTAC Pediatric Dentistry Residency in 1995, and even served as Head of Pediatric Dentistry at the United States Naval Dental Center in Naples, Italy from 1995-1998. He offers general preventative care, sedation dentistry, restorative services, and even dental emergencies for the whole family. If you’d like to make an appointment for your child, feel free to contact the office on the website or by calling (503) 640-6565.