At birth, your baby has 20 primary teeth, some of which are fully developed in the jaw. Good dental care should begin before the first tooth emerges. Although you may not see it, those teeth are there. Here’s some best practices for baby teeth:.
Please note that babies can get tooth decay. Putting a baby to sleep with a bottle can harm a baby's teeth. Sugars from juice, formula, or milk that stay on a baby's teeth for hours can eat away at the enamel (the layer of the tooth that protects against tooth decay). This can lead to "bottle mouth" or "baby bottle tooth decay." When this happens, the front teeth can get discolored, pocked, and pitted. Cavities might form and, in severe cases, the decayed teeth might need to be pulled.
When kids are 6 months old, they can switch from a bottle to a sippy cup (with a straw or hard spout). This helps prevent liquid from pooling around a child's teeth. By their first birthday, they'll have the motor skills and coordination to use the cup on their own.
The ADA recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday. At this first visit, the dentist will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques and do a modified exam while your baby sits on your lap.
These visits can help find problems early and help kids get used to visiting the dentist, so they'll have less fear about going as they get older. Consider taking your child to a dentist who specializes in treating kids. Pediatric dentists are trained to handle the wide range of issues associated with kids' dental health. They also know when to refer you to a different type of specialist, such as an orthodontist to correct an overbite or an oral surgeon for jaw realignment.
If a child seems to be at risk for cavities or other problems, the dentist may start applying topical fluoride even before all teeth come in (this also can be done in the pediatrician's office). Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, helping to ward off the most common childhood oral disease — dental cavities (also called dental caries).
Here are a few ways parents can help prevent cavities:
Your little ones deserve the best and most comprehensive dental care. We are always accepting new patients and ready to give each child a reason to smile! To schedule an appointment at our office, give us a call at (520) 316-6111, or fill out the appointment request form here.