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Dental Care Through the Stages

What to know about caring for teeth at every age.

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Infant and Babies

Regular Care: Wipe baby’s mouth and gums with a soft cloth and water when they don’t have teeth.
Dental Visits: Schedule first dental visit at six to 12 months after first tooth comes in.
Reminder: Don’t leave a bottle of milk in the crib to soothe a baby. Prolonged sipping, even of milk, contributes to bacteria build-up in the mouth.

Toddlers

Regular Care: Use a tiny smear of toothpaste on the very end of toothbrush bristles. Let your child do some brushing, but follow up after your child is done to get teeth thoroughly cleaned.
Dental Visits: Visit dentist every six months.
Reminder: Start flossing your child’s teeth once a day, as soon as there are a few teeth close together in child’s mouth.

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Early Elementary

Regular Care: Around age six, children can be encouraged to brush on their own, but with any necessary touch ups from mom or dad. Children this age will still need help with flossing.
Dental Visits: Continue with regular visits and ask your dentist if they recommend an orthodontic consultation (around age seven) to determine if any early correction is needed.
Reminder: Kids this age are losing baby teeth and first sets of molars are coming in. Use this time to impress upon kids the importance of healthy oral habits.

Tweens

Regular Care: Children this age should be able to practice good oral care habits independently: brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing, and caring for any braces or retainers. But don’t hesitate to follow up.
Dental Visits: Schedule regular dental visits every six months and any follow up with an orthodontist.
Reminders: If braces are needed, keeping teeth clean is critical. In addition to regular brushing and flossing, consider investing in a water flosser with an attachment especially for braces.

Teens

Regular Care: Teens are notorious for being the worst brushers out there. Monitor and encourage brushing and flossing.
Dental Visits: Nurture a healthy relationship between your teen and their dentist to establish a habit of regular dental visits as they enter adulthood.
Reminders: This is the time when third molars, commonly called wisdom teeth, come in. Your regular dentist will likely refer your teen to an oral surgeon for a consultation, including a panoramic x-ray, to evaluate whether or not removal is needed.

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