Pediatric dentists undergo additional training following dental school; this training specializes in the oral health of children during the time of infancy on through their teens. The goal is to learn how to provide care during the growth and development of your child's teeth. Preventative care helps avoid future problems, but if issues do arise, a pediatric dentist is equipped to handle them using the most appropriate approach. If you have an infant, it's a good idea to begin taking care of the primary teeth. Even though these aren't your child's permanent teeth, neglecting them may cause problems that influence the development of the permanent teeth.
Initiate Oral Care Right Away
What you may not know is that an infant's teeth, though not yet visible, are present at birth, and will begin to appear when your baby is about 6 months old. For some babies, it takes a little longer, up to a year. By age three, most toddlers have a full set of 20 primary teeth. Most parents don't realize that you need to begin caring for your child's teeth even before they become visible. Gently wiping your infant's gums with a damp washcloth helps keep his or her mouth clean. You can start doing this as soon as you bring the baby home from the hospital after giving birth. This helps prevent any decay that may occur once the primary teeth begin to push through a few months down the line.
When to Begin Brushing
Once your child's teeth begin to come in, start brushing them with a tiny amount of toothpaste. Many children have sensitive gums once their primary teeth begin coming in, so make sure you're using gentle brushing motions. It's recommended that you brush your child's teeth twice daily, once in the morning and again before bed. This helps prevent bacteria from building up on your child's teeth, which can cause problems, such as cavities.
As your child grows and you teach him or her how to brush his or her own teeth, it's crucial to remind your child not to swallow toothpaste. Initially, it's best to supervise children during teeth brushing time, to make sure they are brushing their teeth properly. When you take your child to the dentist, the dentist will reinforce proper oral care techniques and help keep your child's teeth healthy. Once your child has enough primary teeth, you can begin flossing. You'll find floss on the market designed specifically for children's teeth.
For more information and assistance, talk with a pediatric or general dentist.