Caring for Toddler Teeth

Caring for Toddler Teeth

Toddler teeth may not be permanent, but it’s important to care for them as if they are! Here are a few interesting facts about toddler teeth:

  • The enamel of baby teeth is thinner than the enamel of permanent teeth, which makes them more susceptible to decay than permanent teeth.
  • Toddler teeth typically appear much more white than permanent teeth. This is why when your child has a mix of the two, it can make for a goofy grin with some teeth bright white and others a little more yellow.
  • Baby teeth, sometimes called deciduous teeth, hold the spot where a permanent tooth will eventually pop up. This is why having missing teeth for long periods of time as a toddler can cause alignment or crowding issues as the permanent teeth grow into spots that haven’t had a placeholder for a while.
  • Toddlers typically have 20 teeth and adults have 32 permanent teeth. The extra teeth are wisdom teeth we develop as adults. Luckily our jaws naturally grow and lengthen to make room for these new teeth.
  • Baby teeth have much shorter roots, which allows them to fall out more easily.
  • Permanent teeth have small ridges on the end when they first come in. These little bumps are called mamelons and they usually wear away on their own as you grow up. Some dentists shave them off for adults to get a more polished looking smile.

Now that we know a little bit more about toddler teeth and how they are unique from permanent teeth, here are a few tips of care for baby teeth.

  • Brush, brush, brush! This might seem like a boring answer but it’s the best one. Getting into the habit of twice daily brushing with your little one as soon as they have teeth is key. It’s the first line of defense against sugary substances clinging to their teeth and starting the decay cycle. The longer you wait to brush and the more inconsistent you are, the more likely your child is to be resistant.
  • Ditch the bottle. As comforting as a bottle might be for your little one, it can wreak havoc on their teeth. Prolonged use a bottle, especially one filled with juice or milk, can leave sugar lingering on your toddler’s teeth all night. We recommend transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup between 18 months and 2 years old.
  • Visit the dentist early. We recommend bringing your toddler in to see us by the time they have several teeth. Your first appointment will be more about getting them comfortable with the environment and our staff. We love meeting these little ones and do everything possible to give them a good experience that will have them excited to come back again.
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