How to Care for Your Children’s Dental Health at Each Stage

From infant to highschooler, we understand that your child’s oral health varies by age. Here is a basic breakdown of dental care for your child by age.

Raising children is hard and busy work! When a baby is small, parents know how easy it is to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of taking care of their baby. Parents of toddlers and preschoolers are constantly on the go, and it doesn’t slow down once they reach school age.

Parents do so many things to take care of their children, and the list is extensive. One thing that often gets pushed to the side is the emphasis on good oral health and regular dentist checkups. A parent may view going to the dentist as painful, even traumatizing, and doesn’t want to put their child through that. However, a trip to the dentist should never be scary!

At The Dental Anesthesia Center, we want to help you take care of your children’s teeth at every stage. From infant to highschooler, we understand that your child’s oral health varies by age. Here is a basic breakdown of dental care for your child by age.

  • Birth – 6 Months – Oral health should begin before your baby’s first tooth erupts. At first, gently clean gums with a soft damp washcloth after each feeding. Not only does this reduce the bacteria in the mouth, but it also helps secure good oral hygiene habits. As your baby’s teeth come in, provide them with teething toys or a cold, damp washcloth to gnaw on.
  • 6 Months – 1 Year – Continue to develop those good cleaning habits by switching from a washcloth to a soft baby toothbrush. Brush only in the area where the little teeth have erupted. Toothpaste is not yet needed. You can schedule their first dental exam around their 1 year birthday.
  • 1-2 Years – Continue using the soft-bristled brush and water to brush. If you haven’t already scheduled their first dentist visit, you can do that now. The important thing is to get them used to getting their mouth looked at and get them comfortable going to the dentist. If they start with good experiences, they’ll be much more likely to keep up with their checkups as they get older.
  • 2-5 Years – Every child is different, but most children have all of their baby teeth between 2 and 3. Look at their teeth often as you continue to help them brush. That way, if you see any signs of decay, you can address it right away. Also, now is the time to introduce fluoridated toothpaste, just a pea-size amount. Begin showing them how to brush on their own, although you will still want to help them and supervise them while they do it on their own. Don’t forget to make brushing fun! Use fun songs or cute toothbrushes.
  • 5-10 Years – Again, each child is different, but at this stage, they will begin losing their baby teeth! The more you helped them with oral care before this stage, the easier it will be to continue good oral hygiene. Supervised brushing is still important. Help them learn how to floss and incorporate that into their routine. Keep up with their regular dental checkups and cleanings – twice a year. And continue to monitor their teeth for signs of decay.
  • Preteen Years – By the time your child is a preteen, they will likely have most of their adult teeth. They need an adult-sized toothbrush and regular fluoride toothpaste. You may still need to remind them to brush and floss, and they may want to add a fluoride rinse, if they haven’t already, to their routine.
  • Teenage Years – There are several hurdles your teen will have to overcome when it comes to oral health. They may have or be getting ready to get braces or spacers. They can make it more difficult for them to keep their teeth clean and free from decay. If they play sports, they may need a mouthguard to protect their teeth. They may also begin to get in their wisdom teeth, typically around 16 or 17. As long as they have regular checkups, they should continue to have a healthy mouth.

Pediatric Dentist in St. Louis

No matter what age your child is, we are here to help them maintain a beautiful and healthy smile! We also provide specialized dental care for children with special needs. We look forward to meeting you and your loved one!

Call Us Today

The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologist in Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.

Call (314) 862-7844
Updated: August 31, 2023

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