Baby with first teeth ready for dentist

A Fresh Approach to Children’s Dental Care

At your pediatric dentist in Fairfax and Springfield, Virginia, we want to take a fresh approach to your child’s dental care. Every parent wants their child to be strong and healthy, and knowing the timeline of your child’s teeth development can help with many problems that may come as they grow. Dental health is a major part of your overall health, and creating good oral habits from a young age will prepare your child for a lifetime of happy and healthy smiles. At Pediatric Dental Care in Fairfax and Springfield, we have a timeline of children’s dental care that will leave you more confident in your child’s dental health and future. 

0 - 2 years old

Did you know that good dental health starts before your child’s first tooth comes in? After each feeding, or at least twice a day, gently wipe your baby’s gums with a damp cloth or gauze. You can start to gently brush your child’s teeth after the first one erupts! A soft-bristled toothbrush and a very small amount of toothpaste appropriate for children are all you need to get started! Once your child has two teeth next to each other, you can begin to floss at least once a day. 

Your children’s dentist in Fairfax and Springfield recommends your child come in for their first dental appointment when their first tooth has erupted, or their first birthday, whichever comes first! Baby teeth are important for eating, talking, and smiling, and they help to ensure the proper growth of your child’s adult teeth. Your child’s dentist will make sure everything looks great, and that you know how to help your child care for their teeth. 

3 - 6 years old

By now, most of your child’s baby teeth will be in! It will be important to continue seeing your child’s dentist every six months for dental exams and cleanings. Your child’s dentist will also require x-rays at this time to determine the overall look and health of your child’s mouth. While your child has baby teeth, preventing tooth decay is important. Keeping decay away helps to protect those baby teeth and set up healthy dental hygiene habits - plus it helps protect adult teeth from decay! 

It’s common for this age group to use a pacifier still or even suck their thumb. Typically, children will stop sucking sometime between the ages of two and four. These are habits to break before permanent teeth come in, preventing growth and alignment problems.  

This is also an age when your child will want to start to do more for themselves. Brushing their teeth in the morning and at night is a wonderful way for them to start! Make sure you are there to help if needed and ensure they aren’t missing any spots! 

6 - 12 years old

By this age, your child should be comfortable with a daily dental care routine that they can perform themselves or with minimal help. They should still visit their dentist every 6 months, as their mouths will constantly change and grow. Most children have 20 baby teeth, replaced between the ages of 6 to 13 by 32 adult teeth. Beginning around age six, your child will start losing baby teeth. Typically the first adult teeth that will start to come in will be the first molars. These will not replace teeth, but they are “extra” adult teeth. 

In addition to brushing and flossing, your dentist will begin to talk to you about dental sealants. Dental sealants are special coatings that protect the chewing surface of molars and can keep cavities from forming. They can even stop the early stages of tooth decay from becoming a cavity! Sealants are so effective, they prevent 80% of cavities in back teeth! 

The American Academy of Orthodontists also recommends that every child have an orthodontic consultation by age 7. At this time, an orthodontist can identify any oral development issues, and if your child has enough room for all of their adult teeth. Cases like this are much easier to treat early, so make sure your child sees an orthodontist! 

13 years old and up

When your child is in their teenage years, it’s still important for them to maintain good hygiene habits. Brushing and flossing twice a day will still be vital, especially if they are undergoing orthodontic treatment! It will be important for your teenager to still see their dentist in Fairfax and Springfield every six months for routine cleanings and appointments. Remember, cavities can develop at any time, so reinforcing good dental hygiene is important for ages 13 and up! 

Our pediatric dentists at Pediatric Dental Care are highly specialized and experts at treating all childhood dental issues, and are ready to help your children have a lifetime of great dental health. If you feel like your child may be off on their timeline, talk to your pediatric dentist in Fairfax and Springfield to create the best action plan. Good dental hygiene is important to a healthy body, so starting off early is important! 

Start your child off with the best dental care, and schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning and exam with your pediatric dentist in Fairfax and Springfield today. 

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