July 25, 2013

Childhood Tooth Care Has Lifetime Benefits

How you take care of your child's teeth now will determine what kind of smile they have when they are an adult.  Infants at birth already have 20 teeth under their gums.  The average age for teeth to start coming in is 6 months and by the age of 3 most children have all of their baby teeth.  Babies can get cavities.  The American Dental Association recommends you start cleaning a baby's gums when they are a few days old.

Cleaning Baby Teeth

Damp gauze or a soft wash cloth gently rubbed on the gums starts the process.  When teeth appear, use a child's toothbrush and water.  At the age of two, a pea sized amount of tooth paste can be used, twice a day, spitting out the paste afterward.  By the age of 6 or 7, children can usually take over the task on their own.  The ADA recommends the first dental visit around the first birthday, to get used to going to the dentist.  The dentist will inspect the mouth, check for cavities and clean the teeth.  Recommendations, such as not leaving a bottle in bed with a child, to prevent baby bottle tooth decay, may be given.

Starting Young

Baby teeth are important because they hold spaces for the permanent teeth.  If they are lost early, a spacer may be placed to hold open the spot so the permanent tooth comes in straight.  As soon as molars come in, fluoride treatments may be used and sealants may be placed to prevent cavities from developing.  Diet recommendations such as avoiding sugary drinks and sticky foods, and not eating after brushing at night help keep teeth healthy. Developing healthy dental habits in kids can benefit them for a lifetime! 

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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