A Kid’s Guide to Caring for Baby Teeth
Keep your teeth feeling happy and strong.
Your teeth are a really important part of your body even if those teeth are just baby teeth. They help you chew food and get all of the important vitamins you need from your meals to grow. Your teeth even help you talk, sing, and laugh with your friends.
The better you take care of your baby teeth now, the healthier your future adult teeth will be. Here is what you need to know about taking great care of your smile.
What’s happening in your mouth right now?
Losing Baby Teeth and Growing Adult Teeth
You’ll start losing baby teeth when you’re around six years old, and it will keep happening until you lose your last baby tooth when you’re around 12 years old. In total, you have 20 baby teeth as a child. You’ll start getting adult teeth at the same pace you lose your baby teeth. By the time you graduate high school, you’ll have a total of 32 adult teeth! Check out this awesome baby teeth chart to see more.
Your face shape is also changing to make space.
Your adult teeth are bigger than your baby teeth, and there are more of them. To make space for your adult teeth, your jaw and face also grow. You might have even noticed that as your siblings or cousins grow up, their faces also start to look older. In fact, take a look at your school pictures from one or two years ago, and you might even notice how your own face has changed.
Hundreds of Microbes Call Your Mouth Home
Did you know there are hundreds of very small microbes and bacteria living in your mouth right now? These are so tiny, you won’t notice them. When you take good care of your teeth, your mouth will have a lot of good microbes that keep your mouth healthy and happy. When you forget to brush your teeth a lot or you eat a lot of candy, the bad microbes can take over, making cavities in your teeth.
How to Keep Your Teeth Clean and Cavity Free
Brush twice a day for two minutes.
When you brush your teeth, remember the 2×2 rule. This makes it easy to remind yourself to brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time. You can use a timer or play two minutes of a song you like to make sure you brush long enough. Your parents can also help you find YouTube videos that are made just for timing your teeth brushing.
Floss before your bedtime brushing.
Before you brush your teeth at night, don’t forget to floss. You can use string floss or a flosser stick. You should floss at least once a day. Most dentists recommend flossing before your bedtime brushing to make sure there isn’t any food stuck in your teeth before you go to sleep.
Swish with a kids’ mouthwash after brushing.
To make sure your teeth are extra clean, you can swish your mouth with a kids’ mouthwash your parents can buy at the store. These mouthwashes taste great and have fluoride, that special stuff that stops cavities. But be very careful to always spit out your mouthwash and not swallow any!
How the Foods You Eat Affect Your Teeth
Sugary foods and drinks make your teeth sad.
Candy and soda is tasty, but it isn’t good for your body or your teeth. When you have sugary foods and drinks a lot, it makes bad bacteria in your mouth go crazy. These bad bugs love sugar and eat it, which makes cavities form on your teeth. To stop this from happening, you need to keep your teeth clean and only have candy or sodas as a very special treat.
Eat plenty of crunchy vegetables and fruits.
Fresh, raw vegetables and fruits make your whole body happy, including your teeth! Crunchy vegetables and fruit, like celery and apples, taste great, and they also keep your teeth clean while you’re eating. Instead of having a sugary snack, try a celery stick with peanut butter or a fresh sweet apple instead.
Drink milk and snack on dairy products.
Milk and dairy products have a lot of calcium and vitamin D in them. Calcium and vitamin D are both really important for growing strong bones and strong teeth. Even though your teeth aren’t bones, they need calcium just as much as your body does. Milk, cheese sticks, and low-sugar yogurt are all great things to drink and eat during the day.
Why You Should Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Your dentist will help teach you about your smile.
Just like your teachers at school, your dentist knows a lot and wants to help you learn as much as possible about your smile. Your dentist can help teach you how to floss without it hurting your gums and even how to hold your toothbrush so you can clean your teeth more easily. Most of all, your dentist is someone you can ask all of your teeth-related questions to.
A kids’ dentist can spot cavities before anyone else.
Cavities start off very small, so small that they don’t hurt and you can’t even see them on your teeth. But your dentist can! One reason why you visit the dentist every six months is so they can catch cavities that are just starting to grow. Your dentist can spot signs of trouble by looking at your smile and using very special dental tools.
The hygienist will get your teeth squeaky clean.
Did you know the person who cleans your teeth during your appointment is called a dental hygienist? Your hygienist will use different cleaning tools to remove any hidden plaque — that sticky stuff on your teeth — that hasn’t come off from brushing. These deep cleanings help prevent cavities and make it easier for you to keep your teeth clean at home.
When was your last visit to the dentist?
Has it been a while since you saw your dentist? You can ask your parents to help you book an appointment. Your mom or dad can either call our office or use our website to schedule your checkup.