Dental Care Basics for Infants and Toddlers

There’s so much to consider when you are pregnant or have very young children. Doctor checkups, growth charts, and developmental milestones become a part of your daily life. One aspect of your baby’s health that can sometimes get overlooked is dental health. When should dental care for your child begin?

Dental Care Begins Before Your Baby is Born

Many parents believe that proper dental care doesn’t begin until the baby teeth begin to fall out and permanent teeth start to appear. But your baby’s teeth begin to form before birth, during your pregnancy.

During pregnancy, regular dental visits for the mother-to-be are equally important. Be sure to eat nutritious foods full of essential vitamins and minerals. Foods you eat can affect the health and wellness of your baby, and their teeth.

Baby Teeth and Permanent Teeth Development

Your baby’s first teeth will begin to work their way through the gums at any point between birth and 6 months of age, though it can vary greatly between children and families. Some babies are born with a few teeth, while others get their first ones closer to a year old.

There are 20 primary teeth that will come in between birth and 3 years of age. These teeth will subsequently fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth between the ages of 6 and 12. The last permanent teeth usually break through between the ages of 12 and 21.

Teething Care and Wellness

As the teeth move up through the gums, most babies will experience sore or tender gums, which can cause the baby to be irritable, fussy, lose their appetite, or drool more than normal.

Teething toys, moist washcloths, a clean finger, or a cool small spoon can provide some comfort for your baby during this time. If diarrhea, fever, or rashes appear, consult your doctor as they are not generally associated with teething.

Caring for Your Child’s Teeth

Dental care is important for your child’s health at every age. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. Here are some general guidelines on how to care for your child’s teeth at any age.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

You should begin regular dental checkups for your child once their first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday. A dentist will be able to assess the possibility of future dental problems as early as 6 months of age. Beginning a routine of dental checkups every 6 months can help ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth.

Your child’s health and well being is your number one concern. Taking appropriate actions to ensure a healthy, clean smile from the time they are infants will help ensure they remain strong and healthy as your child grows from a toddler, to a child, to a teenager.

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