Adult and “Baby” teeth diagram. Note the non-standard Dental notation (numbering) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My little guy has four teeth as of yet and is working on his fifth. Recently my oldest three had dentist appointments and when trying to schedule my youngest, I was told they didn’t see them that young. This got me to thinking that even if your local dentist doesn’t see children younger than two, dental care is very important for little ones.
In this installment of “Think About It Thursday” I’ll go over first teeth, cleaning and care and also a few tips to keep baby’s teeth healthy.
Underneath your baby’s gums are 20 primary teeth and taking good care of them AND the gums are so important to help the 32 permanent teeth he/she will have after those little ones fall out.
The time period that your baby’s first teeth will emerge varies from baby to baby but are average anytime from 6 to 12 months. And babys first dentist trip should be at least six months after the first tooth erupts.
Brushing (even before those sharp little teeth break out) is important and our should wipe the gums after each feeding. You can use a soft, wet washcloth or a finger brush with a pea sized drop of swallow safe toothpaste.It is recommended that you use swallow safe toothpaste until your child is 2-3 years of age an then you can introduce fluoride.
I’m sure we’ve all heard it a thousand times that putting your little ones to bed with a sippy or bottle is the number one cause of tooth decay, well it’s true! And I know that these teeth are going to fall out eventually but taking care of your LOs primary teeth are vital to the health of those previously mentioned permanent teeth. Also the type of nipple you are using can have an effect on your baby’s jaw growth, swallowing patterns and development of muscles.
Here are some helpful tips for caring for those precious gums and teeth:
- Use a pacifier between meals or at a night instead of a bottle or sippy
- If you can avoid sugary drinks or limit them at least. I know as a parent this one can be hard, if you can’t avoid them and don’t have your child’s toothbrush available just have them rinse their mouth out with a little bit of water.
- Also, one should never brush their teeth after ingesting anything with an acidic base, or even vomiting. Your teeth go through an acid attack for twenty minutes after being exposed, and toothpaste acts as an abrasive and can damage enamel more so. Rinsing with water is recommended, and also ingesting soda or acidic beverages as quickly as possible.
- Make sure your LO is getting enough calcium to ensure that they have healthy gums and healthy jaw bones.
The color of your little ones teeth can tell you a lot about what is going on in his/her mouth. The normal color of baby teeth is an ivory to an off white color. Any discoloration could be from a number of reasons including:
- inadequate brushing
- injury: which leaves the teeth a pink or greyish color.
- too much flouride: white spots or streaks on the teeth
- jaundice: leaving a green tint
- weak enamel
- serious illness such as a newborn infection, newborn hepatitis or certain kinds of heart disease.
I don’t know how many times I have seen little kids with silver teeth and I know that there are some situations that are just absolutely unavoidable, but there are also those times where there is an obvious lack of hygiene. Educating parents is the first step in teaching children proper dental care and hopefully in this post you’ve learned something new. I know I did.
Also information in this post was discussed with: Andrea Rathke Lead EDDA, CDA