Pediatric dentists care for children of all ages. From first tooth to adolescence, they help your child develop a healthy smile until they’re ready to move on to a general dentist. Pediatric dentists have had 2-3 years of special training to care for young children and adolescents.
Research has shown that mothers with poor oral health may be at a greater risk of passing cavity-causing bacteria to their children, and periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women continue to visit the dentist for checkups during pregnancy.
To decrease the risk of spreading the bacteria, mothers should visit their dentist regularly, brush and floss on a daily basis, and maintain a healthy diet full of natural fiber, reduce sugary foods, and drink plenty of water.
Your child’s first primary (baby) tooth will typically erupt between 7-8 months, although it is common to occur earlier or later. Usually, the two bottom front teeth – the central incisors – erupt first, followed by four upper front teeth – called the central and lateral incisors. Most children will have all 20 of their primary teeth erupted prior to age 3.
Permanent teeth start to appear around age 6, beginning with the first molars and lower central incisors. Most people will lose their last baby tooth around age 12. Most adults have 32 permanent teeth including the third molars (wisdom teeth).
Baby teeth help with proper chewing and eating and aid in speech development. Healthy baby teeth aid in normal development of jawbones and muscles Baby teeth also hold space for permanent teeth and help guide them into place. Decay on baby teeth can lead to pain and infection, which can affect their permanent teeth and overall health.
Primary (baby teeth) have thinner enamel than permanent teeth and actually develop cavities at a higher rate. Preventing cavities on baby teeth starts when children are infants. Letting your child fall asleep drinking milk will place them at a much higher risk of developing dental decay. Keeping their gums and new teeth clean is extremely important. We recommend starting a good oral hygiene routine at a young age (with parents helping). Introducing a healthy diet with a lot of water and fresh foods is the best for primary teeth. Avoiding sweet drinks and snacks between meals, as well as avoiding grazing on carbohydrates, will also help keep teeth strong.