Keeping your mouth healthy from the start

Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the first primary, or baby teeth, erupt through the gums. All 20 of the primary teeth usually appear by age 3, although their pace and order of eruptions varies.

Permanent teeth begin appearing around the age of 6. This process will continue until approximately age 21.

Oral Health for Children

To help ensure oral health and a lifetime of good oral care habits:

  • Limit children’s sugar intake.
  • Make sure children get enough fluoride, either through drinking water or as a treatment at the dentist’s office.
  • Teach children how to brush and floss correctly.
  • Supervise brushing sessions and help with flossing, which can be a challenge for small hands.

Major obstacles to children’s oral health

Babies

  • “Baby bottle tooth decay”
    • Wipe gums with gauze or a clean washcloth and water after feeding. When teeth appear, brush daily with a pee-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
    • Put child to bed with a bottle of water, not milk or juice.
  • Thumb Sucking
    • Not a concern until about age 4 or when permanent teeth appear. After this time, it could cause dental changes.
  • White spots on teeth
    • As soon as the first tooth appears (at about 6 months), begin cleaning child’s teeth daily and schedule a dental appointment.

Toddlers

  • Fear of the dentist.
    • Hold the child in the parents lap during the exam.
  • Difficulty creating an oral care routine.
    • Involve the whole family – brush together at the same time each day to create a good habit.

Grade-schoolers

  • Love of sweets.
    • Give children healthy snack options, like carrots, raisins, and yogurt.
  • Stains from antibiotics.
    • Speak to the pediatrician before any medication is prescribed.

Teenagers

  • Braces.
    • Make sure that teens brush well around braces, using a floss threader to remove all food particles.
  • Oral accidents from sports.
    • Encourage children to wear mouth guards during sports.

The following are key preventive measures to preserve oral health through childhood:

  • Fluoride treatment to strengthen tooth enamel and resist decay.
  • Dental sealants to provide a further layer of protection against cavities. Sealants are made of plastic and are painted on the teeth by a dentist.
  • A fun oral care regimen to help encourage children to brush more regularly. Kids Crest Cavity Protection is a fluoride toothpaste with Sparkle Fun flavor just for kids. And the Crest Spinbrush makes brushing fun, while removing significantly more plaque that ordinary brushes – and helping kids brush 35% longer.