Richmond, TX 77406 | Dr. Mayuri Appareddy
Infancy-2 years old:
Even before your baby gets teeth, it’s important to clean the gums and tongue after feedings using a wet washcloth or xylitol wipes.
Babies are usually born without teeth. However, a baby may occasionally be born with one or more teeth (natal teeth) or teeth may come in during the first month of infancy (neonatal teeth). It is rare to get teeth this early, and they may potentially be loose or cause pain with breastfeeding. If your baby gets teeth early, consult a pediatric dentist for evaluation.
However, most of your child’s teeth will come in between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. Start brushing the teeth as soon as they start coming in by using a “minimal smear” or “rice grain amount” of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. If you are uncomfortable using fluoridated toothpaste until your child is consistently spitting, xylitol toothpaste can be used as an alternative. Never put your child to bed with a bottle or a sippy cup, as this habit can rapidly lead to cavities.
Your child can start to use a sippy cup anytime after the age of 6 months. By the age of 2, start transitioning your child from a sippy cup to use of a cup without a lid or straw.
3-4 years old:
Most baby teeth will be present in the mouth by age three. At that time, we recommend using a “pea-size” amount of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. Night time brushing is especially important to prevent decay.
If your child likes to brush, allow him/her to try first and you can finish brushing afterwards. Juice should be limited to 4-6 ounces per day, milk should only be given with meals, and water can be consumed anytime. If your child is still using a pacifier or has a finger-sucking habit, it’s important to stop by age 3 to prevent a negative effects on the way he/she bites.
5-12 years old:
Permanent teeth start coming into the mouth between 5-6 years old. Dental sealants are a protective white coating often placed on permanent molars to prevent cavities. Your child may want to brush his or her teeth on their own; however, it is important that you continue to brush after your child to make sure the teeth are properly cleaned. To prevent dental injury, mouth guards are recommended for children who participate in sports.
Some children may need to visit an orthodontist as early as age 7 if early intervention is needed to correct the way that he/she bites. However, not all children will require orthodontic intervention this early. Your pediatric dentist will evaluate and make a recommendation.
Most kids lose all of their baby teeth and have all of their permanent teeth by 12 or 13 years old. During the teenage years, children may sometimes neglect oral hygiene or consume cavity causing foods and drinks. We will partner with you to encourage and motivate your child to maintain healthy habits. When your child has all permanent teeth, we will evaluate once again to determine if your child will need to visit an orthodontist.
After the age of 15, we will also begin evaluating 3rd molars (“wisdom teeth”) to determine if or when they would require removal.