We all know that good oral health is important. Brushing and flossing twice daily is the advice of dentists the world over, to give our teeth the best chance of a long life. Away from our regular dentist check-ups, it’s our job, as parents, to ensure our children have a good dental hygiene regime. Knowing what developmental milestones to expect helps keep an eye on things at home and allows you to take the right steps if something looks awry.

Baby Teeth and First Dental Visit
Your child first trip to the dentist should be within six months of the eruption of the child’s first baby tooth and by the age of two years at the latest. Brushing baby teeth should start as soon as the first tooth has emerged.

Good oral health is important from a young age as baby teeth hold space in the jaw for adult teeth. Early loss of baby teeth can give way to permanent teeth drifting underneath the gums leading to crooked teeth once they emerge.

Once Baby Teeth appear, oral monitoring should begin. Supervised brushing, monitoring the effects of sucking (finger, thumb or dummy) and ensuring your child has a diet low in fructose sugars are all important steps at this stage.

Mixed Dentition
The transition period between losing baby teeth and gaining all 32 adult teeth is referred to as mixed dentition.

At around five or six years old, children will gain their first permeants molar. At this stage and until the loss of the last tooth at around 11 or 12 years old, your child may show signs of teeth crowding. Your dentist will be able to help you identify this and will refer your child to an orthodontic specialist if necessary.

It is also important to contact your dentist during this stage if your child begins playing sport as a sport’s mouthguard may be required.

Teenage Years
As your child gets older, it’s time to get them to understand the importance of oral health. A good dental health routine in their early years should set them up for a life of brushing, flossing and rinsing.

Their life choices, including their oral health habits and effects of their diet, should still be monitored by you and them to prevent cavities and gum disease. The emergence of wisdom teeth should also be observed.

For many of us, wisdom teeth will not comfortably fit in our mouths and, if they emerge, should be removed in order to prevent future pain or infection.

At whatever stage of their oral development, daily brushing, flossing and general monitoring, combined with regular dental visits, will help you give your children the best chance of having a winning smile well into their adult lives.



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