Understanding Your Child’s Oral Health Development

kids’ dentist in Seaside

As an experienced kids’ dentist in Seaside, Dr. Santos works with parents to ensure that every child enjoys a healthy, great looking smile for a lifetime. While most parents know when to make the switch to solid foods or when a child should start talking and walking, many of a child’s oral health development milestones remain a mystery. When to start brushing and flossing, when a child needs to first visit the dentist, and when they can start to handle their oral hygiene on their own all have importance as well.

To help parents untangle the mystery of their kids’ oral health development, here are a few milestones to keep in mind.

When Should I Start to Brush My Child’s Teeth?

Parents should begin performing oral hygiene on their kids right from birth. Harmful oral bacteria remain ever present in our mouths, regardless of age. To ensure a healthy foundation for the formation of your child’s oral development, parents needs to clean the gums after each feeding.

Using a soft washcloth or piece of gauze, simply wipe clean a child’s gums after each time they eat. Parents should always avoid laying a child down with a bottle that contains anything other than plain water. Allowing your child to self-feed either before bed or during the day can contribute to the development of baby bottle tooth decay.

Parents needs to start brushing their child’s teeth, using a baby-sized brush, immediately after the first tooth emerges from the gum line. Plaque, the harmful bacteria responsible for decay and cavities, will start attacking the health of a child’s tooth from the beginning, so parents must start brushing early on to help protect the health of their kids’ teeth.

Until your child is old enough to not swallow during brushing, parents should only use a brush with water. Once a child is old enough for toothpaste, make sure to follow Dr. Santos’ instructions on how much to use.

When Should My Child First See a Kids’ Dentist in Seaside?

To ensure a child’s oral health development continues as normal, parents need to schedule their first appointment by the age of one, or shortly after their first tooth emerges. Early exams provide Dr. Santos with the opportunity to monitor the progression of a child’s oral health, while also being able to spot any troubles early on while still easily treatable.

When Can My Child Brush and Floss on Their Own?

Our teeth feature a lot of hard to clean crevices that require both attention to detail and the manual dexterity needed to properly use a brush and floss, two thing kids don’t have. As a result, parents need to teach their kids how to brush and floss from a young age, but continue to assist them with both habits until their old enough to do so on their own.

Most kids will start to possess the skills needed to properly brush and floss around the same time they can tie their own shoe.

When Should My Child Start to Wear Braces?

In most cases, treatment for braces can begin after a child has lost most of their baby teeth, and a majority of their adult teeth have fully formed. This will usually occur between the ages of 8 to 14. However, even though treatment can’t start until their older, Dr. Santos can usually determine whether a child will need braces at a younger age.

A child should receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven. During that examination, Dr. Santos will examine the child’s current oral health, while also making a prediction about what the future of their oral health may entail. Dr. Santos will use the information he collects as part of a child’s exam to create a custom treatment plan designed to help improve the long-term health of a child’s smile.


If you have any questions about your child’s oral health development, make sure to ask during your next appointment to see Dr. Santos at Seaside Family Dentistry.