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Know Your Child’s Dental Mile Markers

As your child grows, he or she will experience many firsts. First steps, first words, first day of school and first dates are milestones every parent expects and prepares for. But do you know when to expect your little one’s first tooth, when to start brushing and flossing, or when that first visit to the dentist should happen? In this blog, we lay out a map of “mile markers” for your child’s dental health, from infant to teen.

Take Care Of Your Infant’s Teeth

Did you know that an infant already has twenty teeth at birth? Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The first tooth should push through the gums, or “erupt”, at about six months to a year old. This is the time to schedule your first visit to the Docklands Dental Studio, so we can check for early signs of tooth decay, educate you on how to properly clean your little one’s teeth, and identify and correct bad habits such as thumb sucking.

Instill Positive Dental Habits At A Young Age

By the age of three, most children should have a full set of twenty primary teeth. At this point your youngster should learn to brush his or her own teeth twice a day. Encourage this behavior by providing a children’s toothbrush with his or her favorite cartoon character and a pea-sized amount of flavored, fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure your child learns to spit the toothpaste out, rather than swallowing it. If you notice two teeth touching, it’s time to start flossing. Children’s dental floss comes in fun colors and flavors that will get your kiddos excited about adding it to their daily dental routine. Be sure to schedule regular checkups at Docklands Dental Studio every six months, as regular checkups can identify problems with your child’s dental health before they get out of hand.

Bye-Bye Baby Teeth, Hello Orthodontist

Most children lose their first tooth around the age of six. In addition to a visit from the tooth fairy, this means the permanent teeth are on their way. By the age of seven, you should schedule an appointment for your child with an orthodontist, for an exam and x-rays. At seven years old, most children have enough permanent teeth in for an orthodontist to determine if any orthodontic problems are present or developing. While most orthodontic treatments begin around nine to fourteen years, some orthodontic problems are easier to fix at this earlier age, because the face and jaws are still in their growing stages.

The Teen Years – A Perfect Storm

A child’s teen years are a whirlwind of activity, and this applies to their dental health as well. Most people who wear braces, do so as teenagers. Be aware of your teen’s smile. Are the teeth crooked or misaligned? Is there and over or under bite present? Braces may be the answer. There are several types of braces available, including plastic, traditional metal, and clear, removable aligners.

Another big issue for teenagers is the arrival of their third molars, or wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth usually come in between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one. If there is not enough room for them, or they are not in a position to come in straight, they are impacted and may need extraction.

Teens face several other unique issues that may affect their dental health. Many teenagers play sports in school, which could lead to accidental blows to the mouth that cause chipped or broken teeth. Make sure your teen wears a mouth guard when playing sports to protect his or her teeth from injury. Many teens feel pressure from friends to start smoking, which leads to stained teeth, slow recovery from extractions and oral surgery, and even oral cancer. As they experience their first taste of adulthood and the independence that comes with it, some teenagers decide to get piercings in their lips or tongue, which can lead to damage if bitten or clicked against the teeth. Make sure your teenager is aware of the consequences of their actions, so they can avoid lengthy and costly dental repair.

Schedule An Appointment For Your Child Now

Don’t wait. Remember, that first appointment should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday! Book an appointment for us to evaluate your child’s oral health, online at www.docklandsdentalstudio.com.au or by phone at (03) 9021 9487.  Our staff will be happy to handle your appointment and answer any questions you have about your child’s dental health.