As a children’s dentist for Tucson, we know that prevention of dental cavities begins with the first tooth. It’s important to identify a dental clinic that will provide a personalized prevention program to instill a lifetime of good oral health habits. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend establishing a “dental home” for your child by their first birthday. Choosing Northwest Children’s Dentistry as your child’s dental home will provide you and your child with early professional dental care through individualized assessment, guidance, and supervision.
Why are Baby Teeth Important?
Primary (or baby) teeth are important for many reasons. They play a role in (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) speech development, (3) holding space for permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, (4) aiding in normal development of jaw bones and muscles, and (5) aesthetics. Neglected cavities can be painful and, in some cases, progress to serious infection. While the front four teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) last until age 10-13.
When Should You Expect Eruption of Your Child’s First Tooth?
Around 6 to 8 months of age, the first primary teeth appear in the mouth. Typically, a child’s first teeth are the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors. All 20 primary teeth are usually present by the child’s 3rd birthday. Permanent teeth begin erupting around 6 years of age and generally start with their molars and lower central incisors.
Babies and Oral Health
- Your child’s oral health begins with you, the parents or guardians. Taking care of your own dental needs and serving as a positive role model goes a long way in helping your child.
- Avoid putting your baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle containing a liquid other than water.
- Transition them from bottle to a cup around one year of age.
Caring for Your Child’s Teeth
- Begin brushing your child’s mouth/teeth no later than the eruption of the 1st tooth.
- Brush your child’s teeth at least 2 times per day with a soft bristle toothbrush.
- Dispense a pea-sized amount toothpaste for your child. (Consult your pediatric dentist on fluoride use and amount of toothpaste if your child is under 2 years of age.)
- Gently brush your child’s tongue.
- Children like to be independent, but parents should assist with brushing until their child has the manual dexterity to write cursive letters. This tends to occur around 8 years of age.
- Begin flossing when the toothbrush bristles do not easily glide between teeth.
Tips for Eating Healthy
- Decrease consumption of juice and other sugary drinks. It is especially important in warm climates, such as Tucson, to keep children hydrated. Juice sounds healthy, but frequent consumption is linked to tooth decay. We recommend that you offer milk or water to your child instead.
- Encourage snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables. Processed foods contain starches and simple sugars that are more likely to cause tooth decay.
- Limit frequent snacking. Between-meal snacking, especially on foods that are sticky or contain fermentable carbohydrates, increase your child’s risk for tooth decay.
Make Northwest Children’s Dentistry your child’s dental home! We are a team of compassionate, qualified children’s dentists for Tucson, Oro Valley and their surrounding areas.