The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children see the dentist by their first birthday. Primary or baby teeth typically begin to erupt by 6 months of age, and it’s important to have your infant’s first teeth examined by a board certified pediatric dentist to ensure their oral health is on the right track.
Your baby’s teeth started to develop before they were born.
Your dentist will begin your child’s first appointment by getting to know you and your little one a little better. They may ask a few basic questions about your child’s oral health, such as when their first teeth came in and their current oral care routine. This information will allow your doctor to provide more specialized care.
Next, your child’s dentist will “count” your infant’s teeth and examine their mouths, looking for any potential signs of developmental issues or decay. This will provide them with insights on how your child’s mouth is developing as they grow.
Your dentist will also examine your child’s gums. While gum disease is rare in infants, inflammation and irritation can still occur, so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Once the exam is finished, your dentist will discuss with you your child’s oral health and offer advice on how to keep their teeth healthy.
Even before your child gets their first tooth, it’s important to clean their gums between feedings. You can simply wipe their gums with a clean cloth to remove any remaining milk or formula. Once your child’s first teeth come in, you can switch to using a soft-bristled infant toothbrush to clean their gums along with any budding teeth.
When your child’s teeth start to come in, they can experience a lot of discomfort. There are a few treatments that can help, such as teething rings. Teething rings allow your child to apply pressure to their gums through chewing, which reduces their discomfort. Chilling a teething ring can also help with pain. Other methods include cooling a spoon and placing it on the gums near the teeth, or giving your child a clean, cold wet cloth to chew on. Consult with your pediatrician or dentist for further treatments.
Children are usually ready to be weaned off bottles and use cups when they can sit up by themselves. Infants can start trying to use a cup as early as 6 months, though it’s more common to wean children and switch to cups between the ages of 12-18 months. Weaning off bottles and switching to solid foods is essential for your child’s oral health and overall health.
When your child’s first tooth comes in, you should begin brushing their mouth using a soft-bristled infant toothbrush and water. Choose a baby toothbrush with a large handle and small tip. It’s recommended that you only use water until about the age of 2. At that age, you can use a rice-grain-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste. By the age of 3, you can begin to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and ask your child to spit out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it.
Regular dental appointments are essential for keeping your child’s teeth healthy and strong. Your child should see a dentist every six months as soon as they turn 1 year old, or whenever they get their first tooth. Seeing your pediatric dentist regularly will help you avoid common oral health issues throughout your child’s infancy and toddlerhood, and as they grow older. It will also give you peace of mind, since you’ll know their budding teeth will remain healthy and strong.
71% of infant tooth decay cases are caused by transmission from the mother.
The current recommendation of the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) is that you take your child to the dentist for an appointment whenever their first tooth erupts or when they reach the age of 1, whichever happens first. While this may seem early, seeing a dentist regularly and establishing a “dental home” early has a number of great benefits.
A “dental home” is the dental office where your child will receive the majority of their dental care as they grow. There are a few reasons why a dental home is important. First, your child will be able to develop a real, meaningful relationship with their dentist, and with the staff at our office. They will feel more safe and comfortable during their appointment, and become more familiar with the basics of dentistry. This can help reduce feelings of discomfort, fear, and anxiety, and prevent them from developing dental anxiety later in life.
In addition, if your child sees the same dentist regularly, they will receive more productive dental care. Their pediatric dentist will understand the unique oral health challenges that your child may face, and will be able to take steps to provide specialized care. For example, if your child is cavity-prone and develops tooth decay at a young age, their doctor may recommend a more diligent at-home oral care routine, along with regular fluoride treatments and/or dental sealants.
Yes. X-rays are safe for children of all ages. The latest x-ray technology uses minimal radiation, and all patients are given protective equipment to reduce their exposure. That said, your child will only need to get x-rays if their dentist believes they may have a hidden dental issue that can’t be detected with a visual exam alone.
Baby teeth fall out naturally, so why is it so important to keep your child’s baby teeth healthy? Well, decayed and damaged baby teeth can be very painful and uncomfortable, and lead to serious oral health complications, just like adult teeth.
But beyond this, the baby teeth provide the “path” that the adult teeth will follow when they begin to erupt. If your child’s baby teeth are decayed or they lose a baby tooth earlier than they’re supposed to, this could lead to further oral development issues as your child grows.
Teething begins around 6 months of age and continues until around ages 2 or 3.