A lifetime of optimal oral health depends on establishing good habits early. At Lawson Family Dentistry, we believe that great dental care should start the day your child is born. While your children need not see a dentist until their first teeth erupt, you should take special measures at home to ensure that bad oral health habits never develop.

Birth to Six Months

Before your child’s first tooth erupts, you should clean his or her gums with gauze or a soft cloth after each feeding and at bedtime. Try not to let your baby fall asleep at the breast or while taking a bottle.

Six Months to a Year

Your child’s first tooth should erupt around six months of age. Do not panic if it happens a bit earlier or later—all children develop at different rates. Brushing should begin when the first tooth erupts. Using children’s toothpaste and a small, soft-bristled brush, gently brush all tooth surfaces. Schedule your child’s first dental exam before his or her first birthday.

One to Two Years

Your child should be receiving regular checkups and cleanings every six months at this point. Learning to brush properly is an important milestone during the ages of one to two. Always supervise your child’s brushing until you are certain he or she has developed proper technique. Whenever your children learn to rinse and spit, they can start using a small dab of regular fluoridated toothpaste instead of baby toothpaste.

Tooth Eruption and Tooth Loss Schedules

Bottom Teeth

Central incisors: erupt at 6 to 10 months; lost at 6 to 7 years

Lateral incisors: erupt at 10 to 16 months; lost at 7 to 8 years

Canines (cuspids): erupt at 17 to 23 months; lost at 9 to 12 years

First molars: erupt at 14 to 18 months; lost at 9 to 11 years

Second molars: erupt at 23 to 31 months; lost at 10 to 12 years

Top Teeth

Central incisors: erupt at 8 to 12 months; lost at 6 to 7 years

Lateral incisors: erupt at 9 to 13 months; lost at 7 to 8 years

Canines (cuspids): erupt at 16 to 22 months; lost at 10 to 12 years

First molars: erupt at 13 to 19 months; lost at 9 to 11 years

Second molars: erupt at 25 to 33 months; lost at 10 to 12 years

If your child’s first tooth has erupted, or if your child has already passed his or her first birthday, then schedule a visit for your child by calling Lawson Family Dentistry in Urbandale, IA, today at 515-278-4366.