The Basics of Children’s Dental Health

Baby and toddler oral health

Baby teeth are the teeth that emerge in the mouth during childhood, which later fall out and are replaced with adult teeth. Baby teeth typically appear as your child reaches the age of 3 to 12 months. Certain baby teeth usually emerge first (the central bottom teeth taking the lead) and all 20 baby teeth will typically be present after three years.

During this period, you need to be aware of teething – which refers to when teeth first come through your child’s gums, which may cause them some discomfort and lead to symptoms including drooling, mouthing objects, rubbing gums or irritability. The best treatment you can offer may be to be attentive and loving to your child, to take their mind off their discomfort. You can also try chilled teething rings, rubbing a cold spoon over their gums, and a pacifier or dummy.

You should first take your baby to the dentist when their first tooth appears or around 12 months of age. By attending an appointment this early, your dentist can help to establish preventative measures against tooth decay. They can also advise on oral hygiene routines, what to expect as a parent, dental injuries, nutrition, and thumb sucking behaviours.

Child and teen dental health

Some people assume that baby teeth are not important, because they will ultimately be replaced – but baby teeth can still cause your child pain, and they play an important role in guiding adult teeth. If they are lost too early or develop poorly, crowding of teeth may occur later on.

Baby teeth usually start to loosen and wiggle when your child is around six years of age. Adult teeth will have started to develop within the jaw much earlier, from when your child was first born. Usually the ‘first molars’ at the back of the mouth (which aren’t present as baby teeth) will emerge first. With age, other adult teeth will emerge and push out the baby teeth to replace them.

During this period of teeth emerging, it is highly important to follow the correct brushing and flossing routine, as advised by your dentist. Your dentist can assist to establish the correct routines – and this includes you, as a parent, because children need assistance in cleaning their teeth often until the age of around nine years old.

It is also important to be aware of the risk of sugary foods and drinks, which are a leading contributor to tooth decay. Should tooth decay develop, children’s dentistry specialist can provide Dental fillings to limit the spread and impact of the decay. They can also help to strengthen teeth, and provide treatments such as fissure sealants to reduce the risk of tooth decay in the first place.

There is also a risk of damage to the teeth or dental injury as your child starts to play sports. It is recommended that you attend your dentist to obtain a custom-made mouthguard. Unlike store-bought mouthguards which offer insufficient protection and can make it hard to breathe, a dentist-made mouthguard will offer greater comfort and protection, and less interference.

As baby teeth and subsequently adult teeth emerge, it is important to monitor for any potential alignment issues, such as crowded teeth, overbite or underbite. Your dentist will be able to provide treatment or to refer you to an appropriate specialist.

Typically, 28 adult teeth will have become present by around 13 years of age – but the wisdom teeth, or third molars, will only show for some people, and typically when they are around the 18 years of age until their mid-20s. There may be insufficient room for wisdom teeth to emerge and they can potentially impact on other teeth, resulting in significant pain and a risk of abscess. Therefore, they need to be removed.

Receiving appropriate care

Making decisions that help your child to establish a healthy attitude towards the dentist will go a long way in improving their engagement with their own oral health. By electing to attend a family friendly dentist or dentistry clinic, you can do your part as a parent to limit the risk of them developing dental anxiety and in taking an interest in their own oral health.

On top of this, it is also essential to establish regular check-up and clean for your child which Shell Cove Dental clinic can assist you. Children’s teeth are continuously changing and developing, and the best way to keep them healthy and well is to have their oral health monitored and treated by the right local dentist.