Primary teeth, or “baby teeth”, begin to come into the child’s mouth sometime around 6 months after birth. By age 3, most children have their 20 primary teeth. Baby teeth begin to lose their roots and fall out of the mouth between the ages of 6-12, when the permanent teeth erupt.
If a baby tooth is lost before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, the surrounding baby teeth can drift into the empty space. This can cause future crowding in both the baby and permanent teeth. When baby teeth are lost early, your dentist will talk to you about placement of a space maintainer.
Cleaning baby teeth should start as soon as the child has teeth. Brushing initially with a small, moistened toothbrush is adequate. As the child begins to have more teeth, about 2 years of age, a very small amount of toothpaste (small garden-pea size) may be used. Make sure the child spits out the toothpaste when brushing is finished. Children 6 years of age and older can usually brush their own teeth, with your supervision. Floss the child’s teeth as soon as the teeth contact each other. By age 8-10 your child should be able to floss on their own.
Allowing your child to watch you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist, can be helpful to acclimate them with the dentist. We will attempt to clean his/her teeth at about 2-3 yrs of age, but it is important not to push a reluctant child.