Smile Milestones for Kids (Part 1)

Here is a road map to the future of your child’s smile — some of the major milestones from infancy to adolescence.

Smile Milestones2Here in part one, we’ll focus on “the mouths of babes.” In other words, from infancy through the baby teeth period.

Many people mistakenly believe that problems with “baby teeth” end when the teeth fall out to make way for permanent teeth. This leads some parents to underestimate the importance of dental care in infancy and early childhood. The truth is that decay, if left unchecked, can spread to permanent teeth that are forming underneath or to the gums themselves.

Bottle rot: You may have heard of bottle rot — tooth decay that occurs when a baby’s teeth are overexposed to sugary liquids such as breast milk, formula or juice. Parents who repeatedly provide their baby sugary liquids (often at bedtime or as a pacifying measure) can unknowingly cause serious damage. It’s better to give the baby a bottle of water between regular feedings.

Teething: Incisors generally emerge at 6 to 16 months and molars at 13 to 31 months. For details, ask us for a free copy of our Children’s Calendar of Care, which includes a tooth eruption chart.

Beginner brushing & flossing: Once teething begins, establish a positive routine by wiping your baby’s teeth and gums with a soft cloth before bedtime. As more teeth emerge, use a soft baby toothbrush after meals. As soon as your child has two teeth that touch, begin flossing his or her teeth. There are some fun floss picks on the market designed especially for kids.

First appointment: Bring your child for his or her first visit by age 2. Future of Dentistry will examine your child’s mouth, teeth and gums, and also evaluate any adverse habits.

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