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As parents, we all want the best for our children, and good oral health is no exception.  According to most dentists in San Diego, setting your child up for a lifetime of good oral health starts with taking care of their deciduous teeth.  For those who have never heard the term “deciduous teeth,” it refers to baby teeth, milk teeth, or primary teeth, the ones that our children learn to eat, speak, and even smile with before their permanent or adult teeth develop.  In a way, deciduous teeth are like a dress rehearsal for the oral cavity.  That said, taking care of deciduous teeth is slightly different from taking care of permanent or adult teeth, say many of the same dentists in San Diego.

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Dentists With La Costa Dental Detail What Parents Should Know About Deciduous Teeth


To fully understand what taking care of deciduous teeth entails, it helps to know a little more about what these teeth are, how they develop, and how they ultimately emerge from the gums. Unlike the 32 teeth that make up adult or permanent teeth, a child’s mouth only contains 20 deciduous teeth. They usually start erupting around the 6-month mark and are entirely through the gums by the 29-month mark of a child’s young life. Deciduous teeth are generally whiter and much smaller than adult or permanent teeth. But they still play a crucial role in the oral cavity by serving as placeholders for the adult teeth that emerge from the gums much later. If these teeth are not healthy, they can negatively affect the adult teeth growing beneath them, according to pediatric dentists with La Costa dental and general dentists in La Jolla.


Dentists in San Diego and Dentists in la Jolla Discuss Taking Care of Deciduous Teeth


Now that we are a little more familiar with deciduous teeth and their role in the oral cavity, let’s discuss how to best take care of them so that healthy adult teeth can eventually take their place.  Based on age, most pediatric dentists in San Diego County, including those with La Costa Dental, and pediatric dentists in La Jolla, recommend the following:


0 to 6 months old – According to pediatric dentists throughout California, it is never too early to start looking after your child’s oral health. Many encourage parents to regularly clean their baby’s mouths within the first few days following their birth by wiping their gums with a clean, soft cloth to minimize the risk of decay when their deciduous teeth start coming in.

6 months to 3 years old – By the time children are within this age range, they more or less have all of their deciduous teeth. Around this time, parents should help children brush their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). For children younger than 3, the organization recommends children brush with no more than a gain-size amount of toothpaste; for children older than 3, they recommend a pea-sized amount. The organization also notes that parents should supervise children when they are brushing and remind them not to swallow their toothpaste. Further, they should teach them how to brush in a circular motion with their toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to get their teeth as clean as possible.

Dental exams – Routine dental exams can go a long way toward keeping a child’s deciduous teeth as healthy as possible. According to most dentists, parents should schedule their child’s first dental exam 6 months after their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday.


Bottom Line


In summary, one of the best things we can do as parents is to ensure our children have strong, healthy teeth. Teaching them how to correctly brush their teeth and scheduling routine dental exams for them can accomplish both. To learn more about caring for your child’s deciduous teeth or to schedule a dental exam, consider speaking with a pediatric dentist at La Costa dental or any of the other trusted pediatric dentists in La Jolla or San Diego today.