Taking care of your child’s new permanent teethMarch 10, 2020 12:57 pm
It might only feel like five minutes since your child’s baby teeth came through – and now it’s time for the adult set! While it takes up to two and a half years for baby teeth to come through, permanent teeth in children can take a lot longer. Because these teeth are permanent, they need to be carefully looked after.
- When do adult teeth come through?
Children start to lose their baby teeth, also known as ‘milk’ teeth, around the age of six years. These make space for the new, permanent adult teeth which should all have emerged – 32 in total – by the age of 12 to 14 years. The first teeth to emerge are usually the incisors (the biting teeth) right at the front, then the first molars, then the rest of the teeth. The first molars are like ‘extra’ teeth because they don’t replace any baby teeth, and are completely new. The last teeth to emerge are usually the last molars at the back of the mouth, in front of where the wisdom teeth will erupt later. It can take up to 10 years for the full adult set to make their appearance! Wisdom teeth – an extra four teeth at the back of the mouth, with two each side – emerge between the ages of 17 to 21 years.
- How can I best look after them?
With the right care, your child’s set of adult teeth should last a lifetime. Your child should already have a routine of brushing with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes twice a day – from the age of six, the amount of toothpaste can increase from a small smear to a pea-sized amount. They should also floss regularly. Keep away from sugar and processed foods as much as possible, and fizzy drinks – even the sugar-free ones contain damaging acid.
Taking these steps will help remove sticky plaque and keep tooth decay at bay. Make sure you have an appointment to see the pediatric dentist every six months, like at Drs. Nicolas & Asp. The dentist will be able to check on the condition of your child’s teeth and give any extra advice about diet or dental hygiene. Finally, a tooth chart can be a fun way to help your child pay attention to the changes in their teeth, and help alert them to looking after them properly.
- Fissure sealants
Your dentist might also recommend some extra treatments at the dental surgery, in order to help protect your child’s teeth even more. Fissure sealants are actually a type of plastic that fills the tiny crevices of the teeth (especially the back molars) and acts as a barrier between teeth and food or germs. They can be applied from six years of age. The sealants can last up to 10 years.
- Fluoride treatments
Fluoride varnish or topical fluoride is a substance that the dentist paints on to teeth, in just a few minutes. It can also be in the form of gel or foam. The extra-high fluoride levels help protect those surfaces from decay, as well as strengthening the teeth themselves. They can be applied every three or six months, and they can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth.
- Other options
Your pediatric dentist might also recommend other ways to help your child’s dental health. If teeth come out too early or too late for example, then orthodontic treatment may be necessary. This could mean braces or other devices to help reposition teeth into the right places. It’s best to see your pediatric dentist at Drs. Nicolas & Asp twice a year in order to address problems as early on as possible.
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