Dental Facts 0-10 Years Old
Children’s dentistry has always been a special interest of mine. I was a Daddy before I finished dental school and I have always had a natural gift for making children comfortable during their dental appointments.
Below are some key facts parents should remember:
Children 6 Months Old
Once the first teeth appear, it is important to buy your child his/her first toothbrush. Buy a small brush and use only a tiny drop of toothpaste.
Do not allow you baby to use a bottle or a sippy-cup for extended periods of time with anything other than water. Otherwise, baby bottle decay (decay caused by frequent and long exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugar) becomes a serious risk. Baby bottle decay requires extensive dental treatment, often under general anesthesia. Treatment costs of $3,000 to $5,000 are common for this completely preventable disease.
Teething tip—Use frozen teething rings or rub your baby’s gums when they hurt. Do not use liqueur or medicated teething gels (benzocaine).
Children 1 Year
The back teeth begin to come in and Mom & Dad now must floss their children’s teeth. In my 30 years as a dentist, I have seen hundreds of children for their first visit and despite everything looking great visually, the X-rays come back and show cavities in between all 8 molars. When this happens, the child will need multiple treatment visits and sedation in order to correct the problem. Again, thousands of dollars spent to fix a preventable problem. Be proactive – floss your child’s teeth.
Children 2 Years Old
By now, children usually have all 20 baby teeth. Keep flossing for them until age 6 and only stop if you feel they are prepared to effectively floss daily. This is also the time to teach your child to enjoy a healthy diet with limited exposure to sweets.
Children 6 Years Old
The first permanent teeth arrive between ages 5 and 7 and are typically the front, lower 2 teeth. Sometimes, it looks like 2 rows of teeth and parents call me with a concern of “shark teeth.” These teeth rarely need to be removed by the dentist because, with time, nature will usually fix the problem.
As the back teeth come in, you will notice they have grooves on the top. These teeth need to be sealed in order to avoid the most common type of cavities. Sealants are cheap, painless and provide years of protection. In my office, we resurface/replace sealants for free if you have kept up regular cleanings through age 18.
Now is the time to begin evaluating the shape of the dental arches and the bone structure. Some problems, such a cross bite, can develop and should be fixed at age 6 or 7. If the problem is ignored, the child will continue to grow into a bad bite and the problem will become more difficult to correct.
Children 7-10 Years Old
During this mixed dentition stage, your child will typically have 12 permanent teeth and 6 baby teeth. Diet, flossing and brushing are extra important because the permanent teeth need to last 75 years or more!
To learn more about our pediatric dentistry services.