It is essential to keep baby teeth healthy and functioning for many reasons. Baby teeth lead the way for adult teeth to erupt in the correct position, so when baby teeth are lost prematurely it may cause future misalignment of adult teeth. Listed below are important factors in keeping baby teeth healthy.
It is important to start brushing and flossing a child’s teeth as soon as they erupt. Oral bacteria can cause cavities in baby teeth as soon as they are introduced into the oral environment. It is recommended to brush two times a day for two minutes each, as well as floss once a day. Due to low dexterity in early years, it is recommended for parents/guardians to help with brushing and flossing until roughly eight years old. Before any teeth erupt, a damp cloth or piece of gauze can be used on gums to clean and sooth. On average, the first baby tooth will erupt around six months old, and a full set of baby teeth will be in by two and a half years old.
Fluoride is an agent that prevents tooth decay by strengthening the enamel of teeth, thus making teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride can also halt small cavities from growing larger. Fluoride is both in tap water and in many dental products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses. Until age 3, infant toothpaste, which doesn’t contain fluoride, is recommended. By age 3, it is recommended to switch over from infant to children’s toothpaste, which contains fluoride. Xylitol is another anti-cavity agent. Xylitol works by preventing the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. It is essential to use products that contain either fluoride or xylitol to prevent cavities.
To keep baby teeth healthy it is essential to have regular dental cleanings and check-ups. During the cleanings, bacteria will be removed from the teeth, and the teeth will be inspected for any signs of cavities. X-rays will be taken periodically to check for cavities in between the teeth that may not show up clinically at early stages. These appointments are a good time to ask questions and pick up tips.
If your child is due for a cleaning/check-up or if you have any questions about caring for your child’s teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.