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A Grown-Up’s Guide to Dental Care for Infants

Nov 19, 2015 - 11:11 AM EST |  Posted under: General
Toddler girl brushing teeth

As a parent, your child’s dental health is in your hands. Discover how to give your child the gift of a healthy smile.

Why Baby Teeth Need to be Babied

Since baby teeth are temporary, many parents don’t think they’re important. But according to pediatric dentists, these tiny teeth actually serve some very vital functions and can make a major difference in a child’s dental development. This is why parents need to practice proper dental care for infants. Baby teeth are essential for:

  • Securing space for permanent teeth
  • Guiding permanent teeth into the proper positions
  • Ensuring appropriate jawbone and muscle development
  • Developing proper speech patterns
  • Chewing food
  • Providing an attractive appearance

The Development of Baby Teeth

A child’s teeth start forming before birth. And while every child’s pace is different, pediatric dentists say that a child’s dental development follows these general guidelines:

Birth – Parents should talk to a kid’s dentist about proper dental care for infants

6 to 10 Months – While teething is variable among babies, the first lower central baby teeth typically emerge by this time

1 year old – A child should start visiting a kid’s dentist on a regular basis

3 years old – All 20 baby teeth should be visible

6 years old – Baby teeth should begin to fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth

6 to 8 years old – A child should lose their front baby teeth

9 to 13 years old – The back baby teeth should fall out by this time

21 years old – A child’s permanent dental development should be complete

Your Kid’s Dentist isn’t Kidding about Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

All too often, infants’ and toddlers’ emerging teeth are exposed to the sugars in milk, formula, juices, and other sweetened drinks for long periods of time. This prolonged exposure to these sugars can lead to a form of serious tooth decay known as baby bottle tooth decay. To prevent this problem, pediatric dentists say that a child’s nighttime and naptime bottles should only be filled with water. They also advise parents to gently wipe the child’s gums and teeth with a damp cloth or toothbrush after they’ve had sugary drinks. Finally, toddlers and older children using Sippy cups should only be given water between meals or with snacks. By following these dental directions, parents can help their baby grow up with a healthy smile.

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