It’s common knowledge that we aren’t born with our adult teeth right away. We first start out gumless with our baby teeth hiding just beneath the surface. It isn’t until we grow older that our teeth emerge and begin maturing till we finally get all of our adult teeth. So what is the best way to get to a healthy adult smile? Let’s take a look at all the life stages to find out the best way to care for your teeth along the way.
Teeth are actually formed in utero when the baby still hasn’t been born yet. They don’t make their appearance until around the age of 4 months, but depending on the child, they could come earlier or later. The average time it takes for a baby to have all of their teeth emerge is around the age of 3. They will then begin losing their baby teeth around age 6 and will continue to lose and grow all their adult teeth up until the age of 21.
Preventive measures at this stage of life to ensure healthy teeth include:
- Regular brushing and flossing
- Dental sealants if your child really struggles with oral care
- Getting enough fluoride
- Limit sugar intake
Problems and challenges that can occur at the baby stage include:
- Tooth decay: this mainly occurs when the parents give their baby milk or juice before bed rather than water and don’t clean their gums afterward. The sugar found in both of these drinks can break down the teeth and lead to many problems.
Challenges that occur at the toddler stage include:
- Establishing a routine: Toddlers are not self-starters and will not willingly go and brush their teeth when you ask them to. Set an example for your child and do your oral health care routine together as a family. If they see that their caregivers are doing it, they’re more likely to do it as well.
- Dental Fear: Make going to the dentist a positive experience. This experience is very new to a toddler and a little nerve-wracking.
- Tooth decay: Like with a baby, giving a toddler a sugary drink rather than water will wear down the new tooth and make is susceptible to decay and other problems.
Problems that occur during the childhood stage include:
- Consumption of sweets: Kids have a massive sweet tooth and it’s up to the caregivers to make sure there are healthier options available like vegetables, cheese, and other alternatives, rather than having the children go straight for the sweets. This can lead to cavities and other problems down the road.
- Oral injuries: Kids are also very playful, but not always the most careful. Chipped or lost teeth can occur when safety is not a top priority.
Express the importance of good dental habits early on and you’ll set your child up for success in the future! Remember to visit the dentist every 6 months to maintain healthy teeth and continue good practices at home to make each visit easier than the last.