As parents, it’s exciting to watch our children pass all of life’s milestones—their first words, the first time they take a step, their first day of school, and of course, the emergence of their very first tooth! Dental development is a significant and lengthy process that all kids will go through, some more easily than others—and understanding exactly what’s happening inside your kiddo’s mouth will allow you to provide the appropriate amount of support. Here’s some useful information from your trusted pediatric dentist about baby teeth and a few tips for helping you keep your little one’s smile in tip-top shape.
The Arrival of the Baby Teeth
For most children, baby teeth make their grand entrance between the ages of 6 and 12 months, though this can vary greatly from child to child. Typically, the first teeth to come in are almost always the lower front teeth, called the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors, the canines which are further back, and finally the molars, near the very back of the mouth. By their third birthday, most children usually have all their baby teeth. This process is called teething—and it’s a notoriously uncomfortable rite of passage for most kids!
The Departure of the Baby Teeth
The baby teeth usually begin falling out around the age of 6; this process occurs simultaneously with the emergence of the adult teeth, and often takes a few years to complete. Most children shed their incisors first, followed by their molars and canines, but like the arrival of the baby teeth, the order in which they fall out can vary. In some cases, baby teeth must be removed with the assistance of a dentist, but for the most part, they fall out on their own.
Keeping Your Child’s Baby Teeth Healthy
In the grand scheme of things, baby teeth are only there for a brief period in our children’s lives; nonetheless, they’re quite important and shouldn’t be neglected! Baby teeth are susceptible to all of the same problems that can plague adult teeth, and given the systematic connection between oral and overall health, it’s wise to help your child take care of theirs. Here are some tips to consider:
· Schedule your child’s first dental visit no later than their first birthday; this allows their dentist to begin monitoring their oral health early on, and they can also keep an eye on their dental development as the baby teeth begin emerging.
· Be sure that your child is brushing and flossing at home, either with or without your assistance. Instilling these habits early on will set them up for consistent oral hygiene later in life, when their permanent teeth are present.
· Provide a healthy diet for your kiddo; foods that are rich in calcium, for example, can strengthen their teeth and bones, and low-sugar and low-starch options greatly lower the risk of cavities. Also ensure that they’re drinking plenty of water in favor of sugary juices, sodas, and sports drinks—preferably tap water, since it’s a good source of fluoride.
About the Author
Dr. Natalie Gardner received her DDS from the University of Maryland – Baltimore School of Dentistry and has proudly served families in the Fort Washington, PA community for several years. Her practice is thrilled to offer a wide range of pediatric dental services. If you have any questions about the blog or it’s time to schedule your little one’s next dental checkup, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Gardner’s team through their website or by phone for additional information or assistance. Telephone: (267) 481-7707.