Thursday, February 2, 2012

Caring for your Child’s Teeth and Smile

It seems that many of my patients and friends have babies on the way, so I thought it was time to answer some of the most popular questions that I have been asked about "Caring for your Child's Teeth and Smile":

When should I expect my baby’s teeth to come in?
Baby teeth (also called ‘primary’ teeth) can show as early as six months after birth. These teeth will help the baby chew, learn to speak and will save room for the permanent teeth. The baby may act fussy or uncomfortable because the gums around erupting teeth can become sore. 

How can I comfort my baby’s sore gums?
You can rub the gums gently with your finger or give the baby a cool teething ring to chew on. Keeping the gums clean also helps them heal. Use a moist, soft cloth to wipe the gums after meals. 

When will the permanent teeth come in? 
The adult teeth (also called ‘permanent’) will start to erupt around age 6 or 7. By this age, your child should have developed good oral hygiene habits such as brushing with fluoride tooth-paste (just a pea-sized amount is plenty for kids). Sealants are recommended for permanent molars to prevent caries. 

How can I avoid caries from developing in my baby’s teeth?
It first starts with diet; you should limit the amount of sugar-containing drinks your child has -- such as apple juice, sodas, sports drinks, and even milk. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle containing sugary drinks. Visit your dentist to get coaching on developing good oral hygiene habits. 

When should my baby first visit the dentist?
Your baby should visit the dentist after the first tooth comes-in or after their first birthday--whichever comes first. This allows the dentist to check on any possible bad habits, such as thumb-sucking and also show you how to clean your baby’s teeth properly. 

You can learn more about healthy foods for healthy teeth here!

For any dental related questions feel free to ask!

Best Regards, 

Dr. Josh Berd, DDS
Dentist and Educator
San Francisco, California

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