Home Health What Are Milk Teeth and Why Should You Protect Them?

What Are Milk Teeth and Why Should You Protect Them?

Want to know how you can better care for your baby’s teeth?

Milk teeth, or also known as baby teeth, are the first teeth to develop and emerge through the gums. These teeth only last for a short time. They help infants and children to practice chewing.

Though temporary, caring for them is crucial to the development of your child’s permanent teeth. Keep reading to know more about baby teeth, how many milk teeth will appear, and how to protect them.

Protect Milk Teeth
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Milk Teeth and Their Importance

A total of 20 milk teeth must appear when the child reaches two or three years old. The baby teeth won’t appear all at once.

The four front teeth would appear when the baby is around six months old. On the 15th month, the upper, central, and lower incisors show up.

The first molars would emerge around the 19th month, while the canine teeth appear on the 23rd month. The second set of molars will appear when the child is about 27 months old. Milk teeth tend to fall out when a child reaches 12 years old.

This guide explains what are baby teeth and their importance. Now, you need to learn how to take care of your baby’s milk teeth.

Regular Visits to the Dentist

Dentists tell parents to have their baby’s first dental appointment before they turn a year old. They will explain the proper techniques to clean or brush your baby’s teeth.

The dentist will assess the development of the baby’s teeth to permanent teeth. There are instances wherein milk teeth in adulthood are possible. It happens when the milk teeth don’t fall out, or there aren’t enough teeth.

It’s advisable to look for a pediatric dentist. They are more than capable of catering to different dental health problems in kids. A specialist such as an orthodontist is ideal if the case is more serious.

A child is eligible to get free dental check-ups. Thus, don’t hesitate to take your baby or child for a dental appointment.

Ridding the Mouth of Bacteria

The teeth of your baby may not be there right away for you to brush. However, it’s vital to keep their mouth clean and healthy. You can wipe your child’s gums twice a day to avoid the accumulation of bacteria.

Get a soft damped washcloth, then wipe your baby’s gums. It’s best if you do this after your baby wakes up, after feeding, and before going to sleep. Bacteria can damage your baby’s teeth if you don’t clean them regularly.

Floss, Brush, and Rinse

A baby’s milk teeth start to show when they’re around six months old. Thus, you can start using a toothbrush to clean their mouth and teeth.

Floss your child’s teeth to remove excess food stuck between the teeth. It would prevent forming of tooth decay.

Use a small, soft toothbrush. Soak it in warm water first to soften the bristles, and use a small amount of children’s toothpaste. You can increase the amount of toothpaste as your child gets older.

Brush your baby’s teeth in a circular motion for two minutes. Make sure to clean all areas, such as the gums and chewing teeth. Do this twice a day—after meals and before bedtime.

Fluoride toothpaste is a mineral that protects and strengthens the teeth. Ask a dentist about the amount of toothpaste to use.

Your child can use a fluoride mouthwash starting at the age of 6. Rinsing with the use of mouthwash prevents tooth decay as well. Flossing, brushing, and rinsing are the usual way a parent can do in protecting baby teeth.

No to Tooth Decay

Lift the upper lip of your child to check for signs of tooth decay. Tooth decay forms when bacteria in the dental plaque turns sugar into acid. To prevent tooth decay, limit the amount of sugar you feed your child.

When the sugar stays on the teeth, the bacteria will feed on it and produce acid. The acid could damage the child’s teeth. The usual symptoms of tooth decay are toothaches, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity.

Don’t put your baby to sleep with a bottle of formula, and avoid giving milk teeth sweets. Some medicines for children contain sugar. If your child needs medication, encourage them to drink more water after.

Yes to Healthy Food

As mentioned, to avoid your child getting tooth decay, give them low-sugar food instead. Foods rich in carbohydrates, sugar, and starch can cause tooth decay.

The best foods your baby or child can eat are fruits, vegetables, dairy, and yogurt. Give them fruits or vegetables with a high volume of water as a snack. Melon, oranges, pineapple, cucumbers, and celery are great examples.

Food rich in calcium is good as well because it builds and strengthens the bone. If you’re looking for healthy snacks to give your child, consider giving them cheese. It stimulates more saliva, which helps in washing away food particles left.

Chewy foods like dried figs, caramel, and syrup stick to the teeth well and are difficult to rinse off. If your child eats chewy foods, ensure that they follow the proper brushing technique.

Using a Pacifier

A pacifier is a plastic or rubber given to babies to suck on to calm them down. While a pacifier has many benefits, too much use can harm an infant’s mouth.

It can change the roof of the mouth and affect the teeth’ alignment. Thus, the use of the pacifier should be in moderation. In addition, ensure to clean and wash the pacifier from time to time to rinse off bacteria.

Protecting Your Child’s Milk Teeth

Now, you know what milk teeth are and their vital role in tooth development. Keep in mind to visit your baby’s dentist often and avoid feeding them food with too much sugar.

For more helpful articles like this one, check out our other posts!