Children have unique dental health needs, primarily because their teeth develop from baby teeth to adult teeth. Baby teeth, or primary teeth, are vital to a child’s healthy growth and development.
Many people may think baby teeth aren’t nearly as essential because the child eventually loses them. However, baby teeth allow children to speak properly, chew food, and reserve the spaces in the gums for future permanent teeth to surface.
When Do Teeth Come In?
A child’s first tooth usually comes in within their first year of life. Because of this, we recommend bringing your child in for their first dental appointment when they’re six months old or when their first tooth emerges.
The exact timing of a child’s teething varies, but the order of tooth development is more consistent. Once the tooth sheds, a permanent adult tooth comes up in its place, and the position of your child’s primary teeth pave the way for their adult teeth.
It normally takes eight days for teeth to come in—four days before the tooth appears and three to four days after the tooth emerges through the gums. By age three, the average child has a full set of 20 primary teeth, according to Better Health. Over time, the number of adult teeth a person develops totals 32, with 16 in the lower jaw and 16 in the upper jaw.
The health and position of a person’s teeth and jaws contribute to their oral health and their ability to chew, speak, smile, and laugh with comfort and ease.
How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth
Daily Brushing and Flossing
To keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy and in great condition, make sure they brush and floss every day. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste prevents decay and clears away plaque and bacteria buildup from the food and drinks they consume.
Flossing or using an interdental brush between teeth cleans the spots their toothbrush can’t reach. It also massages the gums and reduces the risk of gum disease.
Before choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste for your child, please consider their age and speak with their dentist. Only use age-appropriate dental products with the ADA Seal of Approval. Children of certain ages should not use more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and they should only brush their teeth with a soft-bristled brush to avoid enamel wear.
For babies, you can gently wipe their gums and tongue with a wet cloth to keep their mouth clean and bacteria-free.
Children active in sports should wear custom mouthguards to protect their teeth from breaks, chips, and other types of damage. Mouthguards allow speech, breathing, and protect their smiles from dental injuries.
Regular Dental Exams and Cleanings
Finally, we recommend bringing your child in for a dental visit every six months so your dentist can check their oral health and jaw development. Regular dental exams and cleanings also allow your dentist to prevent dental decay, disease, and other preventable conditions.
Contact Our Gentle Family Dentist in Columbus, MS
Dr. Patrick Shipp, DMD is a gentle and skilled family dentist who has several years of experience treating kids of all ages and at all stages of growth.
At Shipp Family Dentistry, we love caring for tiny teeth and teenage smiles. Our goal is to make sure your youngster feels completely comfortable and confident while in our care. We enjoy getting to know each of our little patients and their unique personalities.