Perrysburg Dentistry

Child Brushing TeethHow do I care for my baby's gums?

Good dental health should begin at birth. After each feeding, gently wipe the baby's gums with a soft, clean and damp washcloth or gauze pad.

What should I know about teething?

The discomfort of teeth coming into the mouth can cause your baby to become irritable. You can ease some of the discomfort by lightly rubbing the baby's gums with a clean finger or a wet, soft cloth. A cool teething ring can also help to soothe your baby's tender gums.

When the first teeth appear, begin using a children's soft-bristle toothbrush to clean them on a daily basis. Give your baby regular oral cleanings after each meal to make dental health care a habit.

When will my baby's teeth come in?

Teeth begin forming in your baby even before birth. Here is when you can expect to begin seeing them:

  • Central incisor (front two upper and bottom teeth): 6-12 months 
  • Lateral incisor (the two teeth flanking the upper and bottom front two teeth): 9-16 months 
  • Canines (pointy teeth in the upper jaw): 16-23 months 
  • First molars (upper and bottom back teeth): 13-19 months 
  • Second molars (upper and bottom back teeth): 22-33 months

All 20 primary teeth — also called baby teeth — are present in the jawbones at birth. The lower two front teeth are usually the first to erupt. This most often occurs somewhere around 6 months after birth. Do not be concerned if your baby is a little late. The numbers here are only an average. By age 3, all 20 primary teeth should be present.

To help your children protect their teeth and gums and greatly reduce their risk of getting cavities, teach them to follow these simple steps:

  • After the age of 3, or when your child will spit into the sink, begin using fluoride toothpaste. Before the age of 3, it is OK to brush with water alone, or non-fluoridated or pediatric toothpaste.  Brush twice a day to remove plaque-- the sticky film on teeth.  Plaque is the main cause of tooth decay.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between their teeth and under the gumline, before it can harden into tartar. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a professional cleaning.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary foods, which produce plaque acids that cause tooth decay. When you do eat these foods, try to eat them with your meal instead of as a snack.  The extra saliva produced during a meal helps rinse food from the mouth.
  • Make sure that your children's drinking water is fluoridated. If your water supply--municipal, well or bottled--does not contain fluoride, your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe daily fluoride supplements.
  • Take your child to the dentist for regular 6 month checkups.

What is the relationship between enamel, fluoride and good dental health?

Enamel, the hardest substance in the body, is the outermost layer of the tooth and protects the tooth from decay and cavities. Fluoride, a naturally occurring substance, can strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. Some sources of fluoride that help prevent cavities include fluoridated drinking water, fluoride-containing toothpastes and fluoride mouthwashes. Your dental professional or physician may recommend or prescribe additional fluoride treatments for your child's dental health. Be sure to follow his/her instructions. Too much fluoride can change the structure of tooth enamel, resulting in discoloration.