Care of Your Baby's Teeth
Baby teeth will start showing up in a child's mouth starting around the age of six months and continuing until he or she is about six years old. The baby teeth play an important role in helping a child learn to chew and speak, and they also serve as placeholders, saving the spot for the permanent teeth that will eventually erupt. Here are several differences between the deciduous and the permanent teeth.
Number of teeth
Another big difference between the primary teeth and the permanent teeth is the number of them. According to the American Dental Association, people typically have 20 primary teeth and 32 permanent teeth, including four wisdom teeth. Part of the reason for the difference in number is that a child's mouth is much smaller than an adult's. Children don't have room for eight to 12 molars in the back of the mouth. But, as they grow older, the jaw lengthens to make space for the additional teeth.
Our child’s baby teeth are important for several reasons, so make sure you take care of those first teeth at an early age. Infected baby teeth can lead to stained, pitted or weaker adult teeth. Baby teeth play a critical role in speech development. They are also essential for proper chewing, which promotes healthy nutrition.
Birth to 6 months
› Use a soft cloth or gauze to clean baby’s gums starting the first few days after birth.
› Ask your child’s pediatrician about the need for fluoride supplements.
› Learn the benefits of regulating bottle-feeding and breastfeeding habits.
Six months to 1 year
›The first tooth usually appears during this timeframe, so it’s a good time to schedule an exam with a pediatric dentist.
› Brush after each feeding and before bed with small, soft toothbrush.
› Minimize the potential for dental injuries as your child begins to walk.
1 year to 2 years
›Schedule exams and cleanings in every six months or as recommended by your child’s pediatric dentist.
›When your child has mastered rinsing his or her own mouth, and most baby teeth have come in ask your child’s dentist about the best time to begin using toothpaste.
Writer: Consultant, Crescent Dental Centre.