Baby teeth are not a permanent fixture; they will all eventually be lost and replaced with permanent teeth. So why do so many professionals recommend starting oral care in infancy before the teeth even come in? The answer is simpler than you might suppose. Today, we at Smile Reef would like to expound on why it is important to give your babies oral care before, during, and after the baby teeth stage.

Infant Finger & Baby Toothbrushes

Pediatric dentists possess two more years of postdoctoral training and are well versed in caring for the baby teeth for patients from the time they are infants until they are in their teens. You might be asking why an infant needs oral hygiene does at all when they have no teeth. There are several benefits to ensuring an infant finger or baby toothbrush is included in your infant kits. The biggest advantage is using a soft bristled, newborn-sized toothbrush to remove the formula residue from off their gums, tongue, and surrounding mouth. This removes any lingering bacteria and gets them accustomed to brushing their teeth early in life.

Purpose of Primary Teeth AKA Deciduous, Milk, Temporary & Baby Teeth

The primary teeth, or baby teeth, serve several purposes during the formative years. From the moment these teeth grow in, children use them to learn how to speak and they are obviously required for proper eating and chewing. Additionally, the primary teeth provide the spacing requirements for the eruption of the permanent teeth and to ensure the correct development of the muscles and bones in the jaw. That is why there is strong emphasis on dental hygiene for infants and toddlers. Children can become accustomed to using a small dab of fluoride toothpaste and a small toothbrush at an early age. Most children learn by watching, encourage their teeth-brushing habits by doing it alongside them.

Permanent Teeth Eruption

At about 6 years of age, a child’s permanent teeth begin to make an appearance. Generally, the first teeth that appear are the lower front teeth and the molars. By the age of 14, excluding the wisdom teeth, all the permanent teeth will have erupted. Dental care is imperative in the early years in an effort to minimize or even prevent orthodontic issues and promote optimal growth.

When Does a Child First Go to the Dentist?

Though we recommend beginning oral hygiene practices for your infant starting at day 1, it is encouraged you book their first dental visit around the 1st birthday. X-rays do not start until later, but that first visit is a good introduction to pediatric dentistry as well as gives the professional an early start on proper development.

Pediatric Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays are one of the primary diagnostic tools used in the industry, below you will see the breakdown of your child’s x-rays.
Occlusal X-rays: The occlusal x-ray, usually only need to be taken once, helps determine the development of the upper and lower front teeth. The image permits us allows the dentist to assess the formation of a child’s permanent teeth beneath their baby teeth, which is frequently taken at around 3 years old.
Bitewing X-rays: Bitewing x-rays are used to detect cavities and are taken every 6 months to monitor early detection. The x-rays are usually included children 3 or 4 years of age and are a part of regular professional dental care. Additionally, these x-rays help the pediatric dentist locate any caries that have developed between the teeth.

Pediatric Dentistry

With the help of early oral hygiene maintenance at home and with pediatric dentistry, your child can benefit from having well developed and cared for teeth well into adulthood. If your child is due for an exam in the Las Vegas, Nevada Valley, contact Smile Reef today to make your appointment!

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