01/14/2013  |  
Early Milestones for Your Child’s Teeth

Your child's babyhood won't last forever — and neither will the baby teeth. Yet those primary teeth will be there for most of childhood, and they'll set the stage for the permanent teeth that follow. That's why it's important to care for them just as you care for your grown-up teeth.

You probably know that of your child's 20 baby teeth, the first set usually appears at around six to nine months. She may have four — or even more — by the time her first birthday rolls around. And that's just when the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends you bring her in for her first dental examination. Your dentist can check for cavities and proper tooth development, teach you how to clean tiny teeth effectively, and help get her started on the lifelong practice of good oral hygiene.

By the age of two, as more teeth are erupting in the mouth, it's time to establish a regular daily brushing routine. A small, soft-bristled toothbrush with just a tiny dab of fluoridated toothpaste is best. From that point until age six or so, your child may need help learning to brush properly. And this is just the time for you to lay down a foundation of beneficial oral health habits that will carry through her lifetime. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dentistry and Oral Health for Children.”

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