Baby teeth can erupt in early infancy; in fact, some babies are born with teeth!
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends that baby’s first dental exam be as soon as the first tooth erupts or by the first year of age, to ensure that the jaws are properly developed to support dentition.
Once your child is a toddler, it’s time for regular dental checkups. At this stage, parents should be teaching children proper brushing and flossing techniques and gently guiding them to curb such habits as thumb sucking and use of a pacifier or a bottle.
Kids and Cavities
Tooth decay and cavities may affect baby teeth when kids don’t practice proper dental hygiene, or if their diet contains lots of sugary foods. Since young children may not always brush effectively, fluoride treatments and dental sealants may be recommended to prevent tooth decay and protect those young pearly whites from cavities.
The Mixed-up Mouth
Once baby teeth start falling out and permanent teeth start coming in, children enter a period of “mixed dentition” during which they become more independent, and may begin to assert their independence by making poor food choices.
The presence of permanent teeth alongside baby teeth may also cause crowding in the mouth, making teeth harder to clean properly. Kids may also take up sports at this age, becoming more prone to accidents and injuries. These reasons stress the importance of proper care and protection for children’s teeth during this period.
Always use a mouth guard to protect the teeth and jaw when practicing impact sports. If the new permanent teeth are growing in crowded or crooked, your child should see an orthodontist. Children who make poor food choices can benefit from nutritional counseling. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants may also be recommended during this stage to help prevent tooth decay and cavities.
During the teen years, kids take more of an interest in their appearance. Many teens begin orthodontic treatment at this stage, and must learn to take proper care of their teeth while wearing braces. As teens get older, the next major milestone is the eruption of the wisdom teeth, which in many cases may need to be extracted as the majority of people don’t have the room in their mouths for these molars.
By observing and being attentive to each of these developmental milestones, you can teach your children to care for their dental health properly as they grow into adulthood, and set them up to enjoy healthy smiles for a lifetime.
Dr. F. Edward Murdoch and his team at Ocean’s Edge Orthodontics love to create beautiful, confident smiles using the latest technology and processes.