As a parent, you have a big role to play in keeping your child's teeth healthy and clean during the early stages of development. You can help prevent cavities and other early oral health issues. Infants should be seen by our office after the first six months of age, During this time, the baby's first teeth, or primary teeth, are beginning to erupt and it is a critical time to spot any problems before they become big concerns.
Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Early childhood tooth decay refers to the development of cavities in infants and pre-schoolers. Tooth decay is caused by a combination of factors including the bacteria that normally reside in the mouth. You can reduce the chance of passing cavity causing bacteria to your baby. Do not share toothbrushes, lick soothers to clean them, and avoid feeding your baby with the same spoon that has been in your mouth.
Teething, Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking
Teething is a sign that your child's gums are sore, usually when your child's first teeth start erupting through the gum line. You can help relieve this by allowing the baby to suck on a teething ring, or gently rubbing your baby's gums with the back of a small spoon, a piece of wet gauze, or even your finger.
Engaging in thumb or finger sucking, while it may be normal, can become problematic if it continues past two to four years of age. Sucking the finger or thumb can cause teeth to not grow in properly or tip towards the upper lip. For a toddler who has a very prominent and severe case of sucking, the habit can affect the growth of the jaw and teeth as well as cause a dental bite issue.
At age six or seven, your child's adult (or permanent) teeth come in. This is also a time when children start to lose their primary teeth. The roots slowly get weak, and the tooth falls out. Children continue to lose their primary teeth until they are about 12 years old. It's okay for children to wiggle their primary teeth if they are loose. But it's not okay to use force to pull out a tooth that's not ready to come out. When a tooth comes out at the right time, there will be very little bleeding.
For more information about prevention tips and tooth care for children contact the the dental team at Summerlyn Dental