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How can I help my young child keep a healthy smile?

We believe that taking care of children's baby teeth and teaching them oral hygiene at a young age lays the foundation for good oral health for the rest of their lives.

Your child is growing and learning new things every day. Early attention to your toddler's baby teeth and smiles is critical, as these years can lay the foundation for good oral health for the rest of their lives. Today, we'll talk about the importance of baby teeth and how you can help your child keep a healthy smile.

Why are baby teeth important?

You might be wondering why baby teeth are important given that they are not permanent and will fall out eventually. The first baby teeth, which are usually the front bottom teeth, begin to break through the gums around the age of six months. Around the age of three, the last baby teeth usually appear in the back of the mouth, in the upper jaw, and your child will have ten top teeth and ten bottom teeth.

Baby teeth serve a variety of functions in our young patients' mouths. They're for conversing, eating, and flashing that thousand-watt smile that illuminates the room. A child's baby teeth also serve as a placeholder for adult teeth in the jaws.

Around age 6, your child should begin to lose their first baby tooth and adult teeth will start to emerge. The timing of this tooth loss is critical. If your child loses a baby tooth too early, contact your child's dentist about how the correct space can be kept in the mouth so the adult teeth will erupt normally. 

How should I take care of baby teeth?

Now is the time to create a solid oral health care routine for your child. By combining at-home care with regular dental visits, you can help keep your child's smile healthy. 

Brush twice per day (morning and night) to prevent cavities. 

Wipe your newborn's mouth with a wet pad or cloth to keep it clean. For children under the age of three, use a rice-sized grain of child-friendly toothpaste on an ultra-soft toothbrush. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on children aged 3 and up.

Once your child can spit out all of the toothpaste after brushing, switch to fluoridated toothpaste (ask your dentist before switching). Assist your child in brushing his or her teeth until you are certain that each tooth has been thoroughly cleaned.

Visit your child's dentist regularly 

We recommend that parents book their child's first dental appointment before their child turns one year old. By this time, the first baby tooth should have erupted. We'll look for plaque and cavities in your child's mouth, tell you when his or her next tooth is due, and show you how to care for your child's teeth at home. Children should visit the dentist every six months for a professional checkup and cleaning.

Limit sugary or acidic treats 

High levels of acid and sugar in soda and fruit juice can harm your child's baby teeth. Sugary treats, such as candy, should also be avoided, as sugar weakens tooth enamel and increases the risk of cavities in your child.

Look into dental sealants for your child 

Sealants are special coatings that are applied to the pits and grooves of a child's molars (back teeth). On the biting surfaces of teeth, these prevent cavities from forming. Sealants may be recommended by your dentist if your child is at high risk for cavities.

Check into fluoride treatment 

Fluoride is a proactive measure to help protect your child's teeth from cavities.  

Floss regularly 

Once all the baby teeth have erupted, start flossing. We can offer special flossers for kids. 

This is general advice. Certain children may have special circumstances and may need to see the dentist more often for checkups or cleanings. 

Contact your Surrey dentists to schedule an appointment for your child today.

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