With two young kids, I have baby teeth on my mind. Children usually get twenty teeth by the age of two, ten on top and ten on bottom. The first baby teeth a child gets are the lower two central incisors. The first adult teeth a child gets are the lower first molars and they come in behind the baby teeth. The first teeth a child looses are the lower incisors and that usually happens after adult molars erupt.

As a mom I worry that my kids will end up with poor skeletal/tooth/facial development and that they will get cavities. Prevention is always the best medicine in dentistry. It is always easier to stop something from happening then to fix it once it has happened. When it comes to facial development, the biggest problems are bottles, pacifiers, and thumb sucking. Any of these things by themselves can cause a significant overjet of the upper teeth over the lower teeth. I recommend stopping bottle and pacifier use by age one. Thumb sucking is the most difficult thing to prevent because as a parent you can't take that away. If a child hasn't stopped sucking their thumb by age 4 or 5, then there is a dental appliance that can be placed to prevent the thumb from sitting comfortably in the mouth.

The easiest way to prevent cavities in children is to watch what they are eating and drinking. It is important to limit milk and juice consumption to meal times. I recommend never purchasing soda for daily consumption. Foods that are sticky in consistency like gummy fruits or candies should be avoided at snack time, because chances are that sugar will stay adhered to the teeth until they are brushed next.

Kids are difficult and frequently have minds of their own where they don't want to do what we want. Fortunately, I have made it past the bottle/pacifier/thumb sucking stage with my own children. It is a constant struggle to make sure they are well fed and that I am keeping their teeth clean.

Kari Ann Hong, DDS
1000 Newbury Road, Suite 190
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320

1 Comment