Establishing good dental habits, like going to the dentist at a very young age, brushing, and flossing regularly keeps excess bacteria under control. If you need a pediatric dentist in Raleigh, we’ve got you covered.
Having healthy oral health is essential because the mouth is the entry point for your entire body and is full of bacteria. Although some bacteria are not harmless, particular germs may cause disease and infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children with poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.
Toddler’s Teeth Development
Every child grows teeth at different times. However, the very first teeth usually appear between six and 10 months. For some children, their teeth appear as early as three months. In others, their teeth don’t come until around 12 months.
Baby teeth arrive in any order. However, the central bottom teeth often grow first. The 20 baby teeth usually come when they hit three years, and the 32 adult teeth will follow.
Types of teeth
- Incisors – The front teeth are located in the upper and lower jaws. Each incisor has a narrow cutting edge. The upper and lower incisors act like a pair of scissors to cut the food.
- Canines – Pointy teeth on both sides of the incisors in the lower and upper jaws are used to tear food.
- Premolars – They have flat surfaces to crush food.
- Molars – These are bigger than premolars toward the rear of the mouth, with expansive, flat surfaces that grind the food.
Causes of Tooth Decay in Children
Tooth decay is often a diet-related condition that damages teeth, and it happens when the germs inside the mouth create a plaque or a sticky covering on the tooth’s surface.
These germs live on sugars in drinks and food, producing an acid that damages the child’s tooth surface. Over time, the acid will eat away the tooth’s surface, creating holes.
The longer tooth decay is untreated, the child will experience:
- Discomfort and pain
- Higher risk of new decay in other teeth
- Complicated and expensive treatment
Tooth decay can cause a child pain and infection, and the worst is that it can affect children’s growth. Severe tooth decay in baby teeth can have severe consequences for a child’s nutrition, jaw, and speech development.
Signs of Tooth Decay
Early tooth decay is hard to notice. The very first sign of tooth decay is when a child’s teeth develop a dull, white band along the gum line (the spot at the base of the teeth, close to the gums).
You may also be seeing brown spots on the teeth, as well as the gums, which might be red and swollen. However, more advanced tooth decay is noticeable because it forms a blackened hole in the teeth.
Cavities commonly develop in a child’s mouth when their teeth are not properly brushed. Therefore, it is important to introduce brushing and flossing to prevent the buildup of plaque.
Cavities may also develop when food and plaque particles aren’t extracted from between the teeth, so flossing is considered as important as brushing teeth.
Cleaning a Toddler’s Teeth and Gums
A toddler’s teeth need to be cleaned twice a day – in the morning and before bed. There are small and soft toothbrushes designed for children under two years of age that you can use.
For children under 18 months old, pediatric dentists recommend using water on the toothbrush unless there is a need to use a higher fluoride strength.
However, brushing and flossing the teeth alone will not guarantee that your child is free from tooth decay. A healthy diet and regular checkups with a pediatric dentist are factors you should follow to keep a child’s teeth healthy.
Experts, especially pediatric dentists, recommend that children limit eating and drinking sugary foods and drinks.
A regular checkup (every six months) with the pediatric dentist is also important. Since baby teeth normally grow around six months old, it is best to schedule dental appointments for children shortly after their first tooth can be seen.
Do You Need a Pediatric Dentist in Raleigh?
It is important to have a regular dental checkup with a pediatric dentist to protect your child’s teeth from a complicated problem.
Protect your child’s teeth as early as possible and book an appointment with a pediatric dentist by calling Tryon Family Dentistry. If you ever have any questions about the condition of your child’s teeth or any of our services, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are happy to address all your concerns.