Children are in a constant state of development; so much so that parents can sometimes lose track of what comes next or what happened last. When it comes to oral health, these developments are important to assess from time to time. A watchful eye over certain dental milestones can keep you alert to the needs your child may have as their teeth grow in, fall out, and grow in again.
The first teeth to grow in, the primary teeth, are often called “baby teeth” due to the timing of growth. When the first teeth start to make their way through delicate gum tissue, a baby is likely to become irritable. Drooling and crying and gnawing on just about anything within reach are common sights that may be encountered between 4 and 7 months of age. The timing of baby teeth development may begin as early as 3 months of age, though, or as late as 12 months. What is important to know about baby teeth is that, though they are not intended to be permanent fixtures, it is necessary to maintain them well to avoid painful cavities or other oral infection.
A child begins to learn the importance of good oral hygiene at a very young age. This does not mean, though, that a 2- or 3-year old child will have the ability to brush and floss his or her teeth. The parental role will remain in effect well into childhood, as motor skills need time to develop to enable children to manage oral care. Many children do not hone their brushing and flossing talents until age 8 or 9.
Independent Brushing And Flossing
As a general guide, many dentists tell parents to look to the laces to determine when their child may be efficient at oral care. Essentially, this means that a child who has the motor skills to tie shoelaces should have the ability to brush and floss independently. This may occur as early as age 6. At this time, the issue is not technical ability, but motivation. Parents continue to provide oversight to teach the child good habits.
Baby teeth begin to loosen and fall out sometime around the age of 6 or 7. It is actually at this time when a child may first be evaluated for orthodontics. Recent developments in dentistry have made it possible for dentists to assess and guide the growth of teeth in conjunction with jaw development, reducing issues such as overcrowding.
For pediatric dental care that caters to the anxious child, contact Children 1st Dental & Surgery Center in the Dallas – Fort Worth or Houston area.