Your child will lose their first baby tooth at about age 6 or 7. Some will lose teeth earlier, and some later. Children tend to lose their teeth in the same order they came in – front bottom teeth first.
Once your child can handle a toothbrush, they will probably want to brush their own teeth – and that’s good – but an adult should always finish up their tooth-brushing session with a second go-over. It’s important to take good care of your child’s baby teeth, as some of them will be in your child’s mouth until they are 12 years old.
Help your child brush until they are eight years old
Brush your child’s teeth twice a day – in the morning and just before bed. Do it more often if they eat sticky, chewy snacks. Floss your child’s teeth once a day.
Brush for 2 minutes, spending time on the back molars where cavities often develop first. You can user a timer, music, or an electric toothbrush with a self-timer to make it more fun.
By the time they are eight years old, most children will be able to brush their own teeth in a way that gets them clean.
Cavity risk comes down to sugars: how often and how long
Your child’s risk factor for cavities boils down to some simple factors: how often they consume sugars in food and drink, and how long the sugars stay in their mouths.
We’re not just talking about the white sugar you find in candy and doughnuts – almost all carbohydrates will ultimately break down into sugars. So everything from milk to juice to granola bars and raisins will leave a sugar residue in your child’s mouth.
If the residue stays in their mouth for a long time, bacteria in the mouth will begin to feed on the sugars, creating acids that eat away at your child’s tooth enamel.
One of the jobs of your saliva is to wash away the acid, but if your child snacks frequently, there may not be time for it to do its job. So, brushing after snacks is important, as is limiting snacks to a couple of times a day so that the saliva has time to do its job. Here are some other helpful tips:
Avoid sticky, chewy foods if your child can’t brush their teeth immediately after eating them
Serve cheese with lunch or as a snack, because it helps to trigger the flow of saliva, which helps to wash away food particles
Serve sugary treats with meals and not as snacks, because the increased saliva in the mouth at mealtime makes it easier to wash sugars away from teeth
Regular trips to the dentist help develop a positive attitude
Regular trips to the dentist will help your child develop a positive attitude to dental care – and catch any problems early, before they become painful. At our Richmond dental clinic we have post-checkup rewards, and televisions with headphones to help children relax and stay occupied in the chair.
Our youngest patients can sit on their parent’s lap during an exam. As your child gets older, you are still welcome to accompany them into the treatment room to provide support, ask questions and discuss procedures.
During your child’s visits, we will be keeping an eye on their adult teeth to see how they are coming in. Are they healthy and straight? Are they crowding other teeth? This is the stage when we may be able to recommend simple techniques and habits that can help shape the alignment of the bite while the jaw continues to grow – or begin discussion of the need for orthodontic care in the future.
We offer convenient, early morning appointments
We’ve found that early morning appointments are a better way to accommodate busy families, who often have to schedule around sports, tutoring, lessons, and meetings in the evenings. Our appointments start as early as 7 am, so that you can be done and out the door before your day truly starts.