Children's Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry: Dental Care for Children and Infants

(performed by licensed general dentist)

Infants and children are not immune to oral health problems. In 2002, "Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General" found that tooth decay or cavities is the most chronic childhood ailment - five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. In 2005, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that tooth decay is the most chronic disease among children aged five to 17. Oral health problems affecting infants are no less serious.

Proper dental hygiene promotes the healthy growth and development of children. What your child eats affects his/her teeth. Sugars (found in cake, cookies, candy, milk, and juice) and starches (found in pretzels and potato chips) can cause tooth decay. Add to this the fact that it is more difficult to clean babies' and children's teeth: it is easier for debris to remain in children's teeth, which is a primary factor for bacteria growth and, ultimately, tooth decay.

Although baby teeth will be replaced eventually with permanent teeth, healthy baby teeth are fundamental to a child's overall health and development.

Baby-to-Child Dental Checklist

Some babies are born with neonatal teeth that require dental hygiene or a visit to the dentist for their removal. At least one baby tooth erupts by six months of age. And yes, it requires cleaning.

From six months to 24 months, children begin teething in earnest, indicated by irritability, biting on objects, drooling, and ear pulling. As a parent, you can help teething progress by using strategies such as massaging your child's gums, offering a chilled teething ring or cold, wet washcloth, and asking your dentist for a teething ointment recommendation.

By three years of age, most if not all baby teeth have erupted. Soon after four years, spaces for permanent teeth begin to unfold as the jaw, supporting bone structure, and facial bones begin to grow.

Around age 12 children will have most likely lost all of their baby teeth and have a full compliment of permanent teeth.