Being born outside of the US, I’m familiar firsthand with the vast differences between teeth habits, health and treatment options in the US and abroad. So, taking a good care for my kids teeth is top of mind. Below I gathered a few questions that I see get asked a lot and I provided answer from my personal experience and from research.
Table of Contents
What Are the Different Types of Teeth?
There are four different types of teeth: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.
- Incisors are the front teeth located in the upper and lower jaws. They are used for cutting and chopping food.
- Canines are the pointy teeth on both sides of the incisors in the upper and lower jaws, and they are used to tear food.
- Premolars are larger than incisors and canines, perfect for crushing and grinding food. You have eight premolars in total, four on top and four on the bottom.
- Molars are located in the back of the mouth and come in at a later stage in life. They may need to be removed because they can cause problems.
When Do Kids Lose Their First Tooth?
Kids losing teeth can be stressful both for the kid and the parents so once all babies teeth have grown, parents start to wonder “what age do kids start losing teeth”. According to dentists, the average age to loose the first tooth is between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. By losing baby teeth, children make room for their permanent teeth.
The teeth that usually go first are the central incisors, either the lower or the upper. Next are the lateral incisors followed by canines, the first molars and finally the second molars. By the age of 12, most of the children should have lost their baby teeth and new adult teeth should be growing in place.
Signs and Symptoms of Losing Teeth
At what age do kids start losing teeth can be spotted by noticing the early signs and symptoms. Parents can know that the process has started if their child’s teeth become loose and tender during the process and most children experience little to no discomfort. However, for some children losing baby teeth can be a bit unsettling and painful. If you are wondering what to give your child when they lose their first tooth, you should know that cold packs or over-the-counter medication may help relieve tooth pain. In any case, it’s always the best to take the child to the dentist’s to get expert’s advice on how to go through the process. Regardless, of whether losing teeth is painful or not, parents should talk to their children to prepare them and reassure them that new adult teeth will come in their place.
How Often Should I Brush My Child’s Teeth for Optimal Health?
As tooth decay starts to form when a baby’s teeth start to come in, parents should be alert as early as the first tooth starts coming out. Tooth decay can be prevented by providing a healthy diet for children and ensuring they drink plenty of clean water. Nevertheless, here are the steps and the frequency for brushing teeth divided into age categories.
Step 1: Birth to 3 Years Old – Massage Sore Gums, Offer Something Cold, or Acetaminophen
The first baby tooth can come is as early as within the 3rd month of a baby’s life. So, to soothe a teething baby, you can massage their gums, offer them something cold to chew on, or give them acetaminophen (Tylenol). You should also clean their gums and teeth daily, and introduce a sippy cup when they’re 6 months old. However, in any case, if you notice that your baby’s gums are swollen and they are restlessly crying, call a doctor.
Step 2: 3 to 6 Years Old – Brush The Teeth Twice a Day
If your child is between 3 and 6 years old, you should brush their teeth twice a day for optimal dental health. You should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and brush all surfaces of the teeth. It is also important to floss your child’s teeth daily. At this age. don’t use teething tablets, gels with Benzocaine, homeopathic teething gels or tablets, or amber teething necklaces.
Step 3: 6 to 12 Years Old – Brush for 2 Minutes, Twice a Day
It is important to brush your child’s teeth twice a day, in the morning and at night. A pea-sized amount of regular adult fluoride toothpaste can be used for children 6 years and older. Until your child is 8 years old, it is important that you supervise the brushing process.
Rinsing their mouth with water after lunch and snacks will help to prevent tooth decay. Children should have dental check-ups every 6-12 months.
Step 4: 12 Years and Older – Brush for 2 Minutes, Twice a Day
It is important to teach proper dental health habits and once your child turns 12 they can brush their teeth and maintain an optimal dental health without supervision. Starting at the age of 12 and onwards, children and adults should brash their teeth twice a day. Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and focus on brushing the outside and inside of teeth, along the gum line, and on the chewing surfaces of teeth. Gently brush your tongue as well. Spit out the toothpaste after brushing.
Encourage your child to rinse their mouth with water after meals and snacks. And finally, teach them to avoid sugary foods and drinks to help prevent tooth decay.
How to Prevent Cavities in Kids?
Whether and how much cavity will form on children teeth depends on the dental habits as well as genes. Here’s what parents can do to ensure proper dental hygiene and discipline thus preventing cavities:
– Get Your Child’s Teeth Examined by a Pediatric Dentist
The first step in preventing cavities for kids is to get their teeth examined by a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist can take x-rays and check for cavities, decay, and gingivitis. If any further treatment is needed, the pediatric dentist will handle it immediately. The pediatric dentist may also send your child home with a goody bag that includes a toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste.
It’s important for children to see a pediatric dentist regularly for dental check-ups in order to prevent cavities. Good oral hygiene habits are key in maintaining healthy teeth and avoiding cavities. A personalized approach to your child’s dental care will achieve the best results.
– Use Fluoride Toothpaste to Brush Your Child’s Teeth Twice a Day
You can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is 3 years old, and teach them to spit out the excess toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste can help prevent cavities. In addition, there are many different fluoride toothpaste brands such as Colgate, Crest, and Hello Kid’s Toothpaste. You can also encourage your child to rinse their mouth with water after snacks and lunch.
– Make Sure Your Child Drinks Fluoridated Water
Fluoridated water helps prevent cavities in kids by making the tooth enamel stronger. This is why it’s important for kids to drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste when brushing their teeth. If your child doesn’t have access to fluoridated water, ask their dentist or pediatrician if they need oral fluoride supplements.
– Monitor and Manage Eating Habits
As a parent you should manage the eating habits of your kids to ensure they are healthy. Therefore, it is important to avoid sugary snacks and drinks for children in order to prevent cavities. Too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, which can cause cavities. Limiting the number of sugary snacks and drinks, and choosing healthier options instead such as fruit snacks and fresh fruit and vegetable, is the best way to prevent cavities.
– Teach Your Child to Clean Their Teeth After Every Meal or at Least Twice a Day
Brushing teeth after every meal is a significant habit to prevent cavities. Therefore, you should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as their first tooth appears. Floss their teeth daily, and make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet.
– Schedule a Regular Dental Cleaning and Checkup for Your Child
Children should have regular dental cleanings and checkups starting from a young age. The dentist can help your child feel more comfortable during their first visit by seating them with you, letting them sit on your lap, and providing information about teeth cleaning. Your health insurance may cover dental care.
What Can Happen if Kids Don’t Brush Their Teeth Regularly?
Kids who don’t brush their teeth can face multiple issues such as cavities, pain and bad breath. This is because irregular dental hygiene can lead to teeth decay and cause cavities. In turn cavities can cause pain and can lead to infection, and bad breath. In serious cases, it can cause teeth to rot and fall out. Hence, parents should pay attention to promoting regular and quality oral hygiene for their children.
Children losing teeth can be a stressful period both for the children and the parent which is why parents often wonder at what age do kids lose teeth. It is important to properly prepare for it by getting educated. The first teeth that children lose are usually the central incisors as early as when the kid is 6. The most common symptoms are loose teeth and tender gums. Some children though can experience pain so parents should always seek a dentist’s advice in such cases. Additionally, parents should teach their children to properly and regularly brush their teeth for optimal dental health. Finally, regular dentist checkups are highly recommended.
1. What is the best way to brush teeth?
To brush your teeth effectively, you should use gentle circular or electric brush strokes along the gum line and teeth. You should also brush along the chewing surfaces of the teeth and gently brush your child’s tongue. You should brush for around 2 minutes. There’s no need to rinse after brushing because the fluoride toothpaste left behind protects your child’s teeth.
2. How often should teeth be brushed?
It is important to brush your teeth twice a day to prevent cavities. Cavities are caused by bacteria and sugars, and can be prevented by regularly oral hygiene and visiting the dentist for regular checkups.
3. What are some common problems with teeth?
Tooth decay is a common problem among kids who don’t brush their teeth that can be caused by bacteria and other things. Cavities are caused by acid, food, and plaque sticking to teeth. Tooth decay can be prevented by avoiding foods that contain carbohydrates. Dental decay can be prevented by good oral hygiene habits and a healthy diet from a young age. Baby teeth that decay need to be treated by a dentist. If neglected, decayed baby teeth can lead to mouth pain, dental abscesses, and problems with the surrounding teeth. If a baby molar is lost due to severe decay, adjacent baby teeth may drift into the gap and create spacing problems for the adult tooth when it comes through.
4. What is the best way to floss teeth?
Floss your teeth every day to remove plaque and bacteria from in between your teeth. The best way to floss is to use an interdental brush, which is a small brush that can get in between your teeth and clean them effectively. You can also brush your tongue to help keep your breath fresh.
5. What are some common dental treatments?
There are many different dental treatments that can be used to help restore teeth that have been damaged by decay or injury. Fillings are one of the most common treatments and can be made from a variety of materials, including silver, acrylic acid, and resin. Direct restorations are another common treatment and usually only require one visit to the dentist. Inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges are also common treatments that can be made from materials such as gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites.
6. What is the best way to prevent cavities?
To prevent cavities in your child’s teeth, it is important to brush their teeth every day with fluoride toothpaste. You should also brush their gums and tongue. Use a small amount of toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice, for children under 3 years old. Start tooth brushing at 3 years old and flossing at 2 years old.
In addition, encourage a well-balanced diet and limit snacks high in sugars. If your child uses a bottle at bedtime, only give them water. Finally, have your child’s teeth cleaned and examined every 6 months.
7. What are some common myths about teeth?
There are many myths about teeth that circulate around, especially among children. It’s important to bust these myths so that kids can have a better understanding of their teeth and how to take care of them.
One myth is that the crown of each tooth is covered in hard enamel, which acts as a tooth’s personal bodyguard. In reality, under the enamel is dentin, which is softer and more porous. This means that the color of your teeth can be affected by the amount of fluoride in your water.
Another myth is that dentin is the largest and hardest part of a tooth. In fact, the pulp is where nerve endings and blood supply are found. This means that when you hurt a tooth, it’s the pulp that hurts the most.
A common myth about baby teeth is that they will be replaced by adult teeth over time. However, girls typically lose teeth earlier than boys do. The first tooth to fall out is usually located in the front of the lower jaw. It’s normal for baby teeth to come out and new adult teeth will replace them – there’s no need to worry! Just reassure your child that losing baby teeth is a natural process, and that they’ll get used to the new teeth in future.
Finally, one of the most popular myths is that teeth can be bought or exchanged for money by the Tooth Fairy. While this may be a fun story for kids, it’s important to talk to them about tooth loss and discuss any rewards they may receive so that they understand what’s happening.
8. How long should kids brush their teeth with a toothbrush?
Brush your child’s teeth for 2 minutes, using a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. Brush the outer and inner sides of the teeth and along the gum line. Brush your child’s tongue and teach them to spit out the toothpaste after brushing, and avoid swallowing it. Rinsing is not necessary after using fluoride toothpaste, just avoid giving your child sugary drinks.
9. What are the symptoms of tooth decay in a child?
Tooth decay in a child can start with white spots on the teeth which can lead to early tooth sensitivity. Early cavities appear as light brown areas and become deeper over time. Some children may not experience any symptoms, while others may experience pain or tooth loss. Tooth decay can sometimes be unnoticed in children. If tooth decay is not treated, it can lead to permanent damage to the teeth.
10. Why do kids get silver teeth?
Silver teeth which are composed of mercury, tin, silver and copper are used to cover and protect damaged teeth. They protect the damaged teeth from decay, infection and other dental risks.
11. When do toddlers start losing teeth?
Toddler age is the age between 2 and 3 years old. Children start losing their first teeth around the age of 6. Therefore, unless there is some health problem with the toddler’s teeth, they shouldn’t be losing them until they are 5 or 6 years old.