Dental Health for Babies and Children
Did you know... A baby's first tooth may start to come in between 3-16 months with the average at around 6 months. The actual timeline per individual is heavily swayed by genetics. Bottom front teeth typically are first to arrive with few exceptions. The four upper teeth follow suit within 4-8 weeks. There are essentially twenty primary teeth to look out for before the age of three. New teeth inherently come in waves, about every four months. Enter the Tooth Fairy... Shedding baby teeth normally begins around the sixth or seventh year. With the loss of the second molars, at roughly eleven to thirteen years old, this course of development concludes. Around the same age of the beginning of the shedding process, you should start to see permanent teeth poke through. The third molars, or wisdom teeth as they are commonly known as, are a sign of maturity and a sign of the ending of the permanent teeth phase. The age range spans from 17 to 22 years old. To Medicate or Not to Medicate Teething may cause excessive drooling and the desire to gum on hard surfaces. On occasion, mild pain and irritability can ensue because gums, at this stage, are generally swollen and sensitive. Contrary to popular belief, teething should not cause fever, diarrhea, sleep deprivation or rashes. Relief can come in the form of gum massages or chewing on appropriate teething rings. Teething gels or Tylenol for pain are available alternatives, however if possible, riding it through naturally is recommended. Consult your own pediatrician if you have concerns or questions. In the very beginning... To begin your baby's cleaning regimen, wipe the earliest teeth down with a warm, moist washcloth. After time, you should use a soft child's toothbrush. Only apply a pea-sized droplet of fluoride baby appropriate or non-fluoride toothpaste, such as Baby Ora-Gel, until such time as she is able to spit out the excess toothpaste. Remember too much fluoride is a detriment and can stain teeth. Baby's First Dental Appointment For many, this is a frequently asked question among new and old parents alike. For high risk children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend it be made before their first birthday or soon after their first tooth appears. Higher risk factors can include the following:
- sleeping or walking around with a bottle of juice all day; the more exposed to outside substances, the more likely chance for cavities to form;
- certain special health factors (consult your Pediatrician);
- unusual teeth staining, crowding or abnormal tooth development;
- persistent thumb sucking or pacifier users;
- bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding;
Genetics once again, can also play a heavy factor. For children at lower risk, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), you can wait until they're a little older. Your Pediatrician should verse you with proper oral health and hygiene routines early on and can generally advise you as to when to make the first dental appointment. Again, early prevention is always the best way to go! If you have concerns and your dental professional wants to put off seeing your child until she's four or five, consider seeing a Pediatric dentist. Sealants and Fluoride for Children Sealants serve as a barrier to thwart excess particles from seething into the grooves and pits of teeth. It's nearly impossible to conventionally clean certain parts of your teeth on a daily basis. For children, six years old is the age to begin thinking about having them applied (to the permanent molars). Another necessary regiment to include is Fluoride. In most cases, tap water contains enough fluoride, in lieu of adding additional sources. Generally, well or filtered water or bottled water does not contain sufficient flouride levels to cleanse. Again, we hope this little bit of information has answered some of your questions and as always, its best to consult your Pediatrician if you have concerns or questions.
From all of us at Dr. Siegel's Office of Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we wish you and your family a healthy Holiday Season!
(Dr. Siegel acknowledges the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Dental Association (ADA) as vital sources of this article. Please consult their respective websites for further detailed info.)