Dental Care Tips For Your Child (6-12 years old)
Getting adult teeth
The first adult tooth usually comes in around the age of 6. This is usually the lower front tooth (incisor) or the first adult molar which erupt behind the last baby molar. The shedding of the baby teeth and eruption of the succeeding adult teeth will go on till 12 years of age. Excluding the wisdom teeth which erupt much later, there should be a total of 28 adult teeth.
Tooth brushing and flossing
Your child should be able to brush his/her own teeth but adult supervision is still recommended for the younger ones. If you are thinking of getting an electric toothbrush for your child, 8-9 years old may be a good time to introduce it. Children this age enjoy the novelty of an electric toothbrush and it makes brushing more fun especially when it comes with music or timer. Self –flossing can be introduced when your child is around 10 years old.
Our teeth have pits and grooves which trap food and yet is difficult to reach with a toothbrush. A sealant is a material that is placed over these areas, such as the chewing surfaces of molars, to help prevent tooth decay. Sealants are now considered a routine and important part of preventing tooth decay in children. The most common teeth sealed are the first adult molars.
Orthodontic treatment (braces) can usually be done when most of the adult teeth have come in (i.e around 12 years of age). However, children vary in their development and hence the timing for treatment can vary. Orthodontic treatment at an earlier age may be recommended for some children. This early treatment can sometimes be all that is required or it may be only the first part of a more lengthy treatment.
About the Author
Dr Toh Siew Luan is an experienced Paediatric Dentist with many years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of tooth decay and dental trauma for children, especially those who are fearful and anxious or those who need extensive or complex treatment. She is patient and loves being around children.
Read more about her
Dr. Toh Siew Luan
Thomson Medical Centre