Caring For Your Child's Teeth - A Timeline from Infancy to Adulthood
By: Dr. Peter Markov, DMD Owner and Dentist at VK Pediatric Dentistry in Arlington, VA
At what age should I schedule my child’s first dentist visit? When should my child be brushing on their own? When do I need to begin flossing my child’s teeth? My child has too many teeth, are they a shark? Follow the tips outlined below to keep your child’s teeth healthy at every age:
Newborns & infants
The First Few Months: Try to get some sleep. You have very few dental concerns to worry about during this age. Most kids will not have any teeth at birth and most likely won't have their first tooth until 8-12 months of age. It's a good idea to wipe your baby's gums with clean gauze after feeding. Infants should not be put to bed with a bottle because doing so can increase the risk for tooth decay and can lead to something called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Schedule your child’s first dental visit at VK Pediatric Dentistry by their 1st birthday or within 6 months of the appearance of their first tooth!
Toddlers & Preschool
Establish good brushing habits early! Brush your child’s teeth twice a day for two-minutes using a grain of rice sized amount of toothpaste. It's okay if they aren't able to spit the toothpaste out yet (letting the tooth paste sit on the teeth can actually be protective at night). Floss once a day as soon as the teeth start to touch.
Smart snacking & avoiding sipping is key to a healthy mouth! Limit between-meal snacks and do not let your child carry around a cup all day unless it’s filled with water.
Its tooth fairy time! Children usually lose baby teeth between the ages of 6 and 12.
Protect adult teeth and prevent cavities with sealants. Being proactive and applying sealants at an early age can prevent the need for fillings in the future. Children can begin brushing and flossing on their own around age 7. If they can tie their own shoes, they can brush their teeth! Good diet = Healthy teeth! Establish healthy eating habits that include a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Serve nutritious snacks to your kids and limit sweets after mealtime.
Teenagers and Beyond!
Don’t forget to brush and floss daily! Make sure your child sees their pediatric dentist every 6 months even when life gets busy (we will help you schedule around school, sports practices, dance recitals, etc).. Adult teeth are coming into the mouth now and they are the last set we get so it's important to take care of them. Because of the differences in anatomy and tooth enamel, baby teeth tend to get cavities quicker than adult teeth, but this doesn't mean you should give up on pushing your almost adult kids to have good oral hygiene. Around the age of 16-18 years old, it's time for an adult dentist! We know the best ones in the area and will happily give you our recommendations.
VK Pediatric Dentistry
5001 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA 22207