Dental Care For Toddlers And Pre-Schoolers
- All baby (primary) teeth should be erupted by age 3. There are 20 total primary teeth.
- The first adult (permanent) teeth to erupt will be the central incisors and the molars around age 6-7.
- X-rays may be necessary to look for cavities between teeth. We utilize digital x-rays which are much lower radiation dosage compared to traditional x-rays.
It’s a good idea to supervise your child’s brushing until the age of 6, following the guidelines below:
- Use a pea-sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste – take care that your child doesn’t swallow the paste.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles, brush inside surfaces of all teeth first, where plaque accumulates most.
- Angle bristles toward the gumline at a 45 degree angle. Brush gently back and forth in small circles.
- Clean all outside surfaces of teeth. Angle bristles toward the gumline. Brush gently back and forth in small circles.
- Place brush so bristles are on the chewing surface of the teeth. Brush gently back and forth in small circles.
- Lightly brush the tongue and inside the cheeks to remove bacteria and freshen breath.
- Rinse with water and begin flossing. You may want to use a fluoride mouthwash for additional benefits.
- Proper brushing takes at least TWO minutes! You may use a kitchen timer or a small sand timer to make sure your child brushes for the proper amount of time!
- Make sure to brush at least twice daily!
- Continue to see your dentist every 6 months for routine check-ups and cleanings.
- Flossing is necessary as soon as the teeth are in contact with one another, as early as age 2. Many parents prefer using pre-strung flossers which are flavored and coated with fluoride.
- Try to end any thumb sucking or pacifier habits as soon as possible. Ask your dentist for suggestions.
Getting enough fluoride is great for the health and strength of your child’s teeth. At our practice, we’ll educate you about how much fluoride your small child needs, and how much is too much. During your child’s regular cleaning and checkup, we offer a special fluoride varnish that will help your child maintain their great oral health and grow into a beautiful, healthy, smile. Good news! We live in a fluoridated community and are receiving optimal levels of fluoride in our tap water. You can read more about fluoride at the American Dental Association.
Thumb sucking can have a detrimental effect on tooth alignment, and may cause other issues. At our practice, we can treat thumb sucking, and help toddlers develop good dental habits. Most children stop sucking their thumb between ages two and three. If your child continues to suck their thumb after age four, it may have negative effects on the teeth. We can provide recommendations to help your child break the habit on their own. For older children, we can provide habit breaking treatment if needed. See Early Prevention for more details. With our preventative care emphasis, we work to avoid potential dental issues before they happen.