Your Child’s Oral Health
Your child’s first teeth will begin coming in between three and sixteen months (usually around six months). The two bottom front teeth will be the first to come in and this will be followed by the four upper teeth in four to eight weeks.
When should you begin cleaning your child’s teeth?
Once your child’s teeth begin erupting, you can begin cleaning them by wiping them with a moist washcloth. As your child gets more teeth, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. You should use just a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste or a non-fluoride toothpaste till the child is able to spit it out.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests children’s first dental visit by the time they are a year old. If your child doesn’t have any risk factors for developing cavities, such as sleeping with a cup or bottle or walking around all day with a cup of juice, and if his teeth seem to be developing normally, then you can probably wait until your child is older and just ask your Pediatrician to check his teeth at each well child visit.
If your child has any problems, such as staining of his teeth, crowding or abnomal tooth development, or if he has any risk factors for developing cavities, then he should see a dentist earlier. You may also want to see a dentist if your child has any persistent habits, such as sucking his thumb or using a pacifier as a toddler or grinding his teeth at night (bruxism).
All children need supplemental fluoride after they are six months old to help prevent cavities. They can get this fluoride from the water they drink. It is in general better to have your child drink water that is supplemented with fluoride instead of giving extra fluoride drops or supplements. Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, which is permanent white to brown discoloration of the enamel of the teeth.