Preschool: 3–5

Why are baby teeth so important?

One of the most common questions we get is, “Why are baby teeth important? They are going to fall out anyway.” Your child’s primary teeth are essential for your child’s overall health and play an important role in the growth and development of the face. They also act as natural space maintainers and guide the eruption of the adult teeth. Decay in primary teeth can cause speech problems, pain, swelling, infection, and early loss of primary teeth. That early tooth loss can cause crowding, misaligned teeth, and the need for orthodontic treatment later.

Will my baby get any new teeth at this age?

The last baby teeth to erupt are the second molars and the average age for these is around 2 years. For most kids, there will be no loose teeth or new ones coming in until they’re about 6, though a small percentage of kids may begin to lose their teeth as early as 4 or 5. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact your dentist. The eruption and exfoliation of your child’s teeth will be monitored every 6 months at their regular checkup and cleaning visits.

How can I prevent cavities in my child?

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 begin to show more independence. It is important to be mindful of their diet, snacking habits, and oral hygiene practices. Try to avoid sticky snacks and juices daily, and if your child must drink juice daily, limit it to once or twice a day with a regular meal. Oral hygiene should include brushing twice a day and flossing if there are no spaces between the teeth. Children at this age cannot brush independently and will need assistance from their parents until they are older.

Is it a problem if my child sucks on their thumb or a pacifier?

Thumb sucking or pacifier use in infants is normal. Beyond the age of 2½ years, prolonged habits can cause dental and orthodontic changes, which can include but are not limited to speech problems, flared teeth, open bite, crowded teeth, cross bites of the back teeth, and narrowing of the arches. You can discuss ways to help discontinue these habits with your pediatric dentist.

How can I prevent dental injuries in my child?

Preventing injuries can be difficult in children, especially before the age of 5, because they are so adventurous. Climbing, jumping, and running are common activities that can result in an injury. Keep an eye on your little ones as best as you can, and make sure that your dental contact for emergencies is already saved in your phone in case it’s needed.

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