Take a moment today and check our your children's teeth. Experts say we should be taking action now when our children are little - babies even - to prevent problems in the future. Here's the thing, even before our children's teeth appear for us to see they are there.
Experts say children should see the dentist by the age of one or within six months of getting that first tooth. Teeth actually begin to form in the second trimester of pregnancy. At birth, your baby has 20 primary teeth already, some of which are fully developed in the jaw. And, getting an exam and a cleaning for a little one isn't like what you get as an adult. Dr. Marjorie O'Neil works with the littlest of patients every day at the Mobile County Health Department's Eight Mile clinic. She says an early start with teeth is the best because it helps you and your children develop good habits, like when it comes to brushing.
"You want to make sure they are brushing long enough and getting in the back. So, look in the mirror and help your child see there are teeth way back there. You want to get those, too. Make sure you sing them a song, do it during a commercial break or set a timer. Something they can use to judge a two minute time frame, which is how long you are supposed to be brushing your teeth," explains Dr. O'Neil.
Dr. O'Neil says one way to help prevent cavities is to make sure your kids drink only water at bedtime. They should brush their teeth in the morning and before bed. And, again, for two minutes. It's a good idea to help your kids brush their teeth and make sure they get every part of each tooth. If you have a baby, Dr. O'Neil suggests wiping your little one's teeth with a wash cloth after every feeding.
On average, babies get their first teeth around six months. The teeth will start falling out around the age of six. And, they'll likely hang onto their back molars until they're 12 or so. But, it's really important to remember these are averages and each child is different. So, Dr. O'Neil says that's why it's a good idea to see a dentist early on!
For more information on our little ones and their dental health, click here . For the Mobile County Health Department's dental clinics, click here . And, check out this website for some fun ideas to fill that two minutes of brushing!
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