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I Have Questions About Baby Teeth

Are babies born with teeth?
One baby in 2,000 is born with teeth. However, lots of animal babies are born with teeth. So, don't try tickling a baby shark or spotted hyena - you could get bitten!

Will my baby sister ever get teeth?
She already has teeth, but you can't see them yet. Her teeth started to form under her gums when she was born! Look for her first tooth when she is about six months old.

Mom says my baby brother is teething. What's that?
Teething is when a baby's teeth start to come in. Teething babies may cry because their gums hurt. Some have trouble sleeping, and some drool a lot.

How many teeth do I have?
Most children have 20 baby (or "primary") teeth by age three. When you're around six years old, some teeth fall out and others grow in. You will have 32 permanent teeth when you grow up.

Why do baby teeth fall out?
Baby teeth hang around for only a few years. They do important work during that time, though. Baby teeth help children talk and eat. They also hold a spot for your permanent teeth, so these teeth "know" where to grow. Lots of animals, like kittens and puppies, lose baby teeth, too!

How do my teeth know when to fall out?
Each tooth is held in place by roots. Roots look like strings. Roots attach to your jawbone at one end, and your tooth on the other. They hold your baby tooth in place until your permanent tooth starts to grow in. The permanent tooth dissolves the root of the baby tooth. As the root disappears, the baby tooth gets loose, and falls out.

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What are the Different Types of Teeth in My Mouth?

What are "canine teeth?"
You have four pointy teeth called canine teeth. There are two canine teeth on top, two on the bottom. Sometimes, they look a little like fangs. Canine teeth are used for tearing food.

What are incisors?
Incisors are your four front teeth. You have four incisors on top and four on the bottom. Incisors are used for cutting food. Your first baby teeth were probably the bottom incisors.

What are molars?
Molars are the fatter teeth in the back of your mouth. They look like little tables with bumps on them. Molars are used to grind food. Your first permanent molars come in around age six. Your second permanent molars arrive around age 11. You might be in college when you get your third set of molars! The third molars are called "wisdom teeth." They come in when you are about 18 years old. Once your wisdom teeth come in, you will have 32 permanent teeth.


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How Do I Take Care of My Teeth?

Why does Dad say that too much junk food will give me cavities?
After you eat sweets - cookies, candy, cake or other foods made with sugar - the natural bacteria in your mouth breaks the sugars down into acids that eat away tooth enamel, causing holes in your teeth - these holes are cavities. The acids erode tooth enamel, which eventually leads to a cavity that will need to be treated by a dentist. When you eat junk food, make sure you brush your teeth soon after!

Why do I have to brush my teeth?
The best way to prevent cavities is to brush twice a day. Brushing also helps prevent bad breath, prevents gum disease and keeps teeth looking good. You might not care about that now, but you will when you're a teenager!

How often should I brush my teeth?
Brush at least twice a day. You should brush for two minutes each time. That's 120 seconds. Some kids use a kitchen timer or a bathroom clock to time how long they've brushed. Or, you could count to yourself: 1 MISSISSIPPI, 2 MISSISSIPPI, 3 MISSISSIPPI until you reach 120.

Why do we use toothpaste?
Toothpaste has things in it that work with your toothbrush to clean teeth. You should use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps make your teeth stronger and helps prevent cavities.

What is the best toothpaste?
Toothpaste comes in lots of flavors. The best toothpaste is one you like and one that you will use. Your toothpaste should contain fluoride. Also, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the label.

What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral. It helps make teeth enamel stronger. You get fluoride from toothpaste. Your dentist also might give your teeth a fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps protect teeth from cavities.

Help! I'm supposed to floss, but I can't reach my back teeth! What do I do?
Flossing is tough! You should do it once a day after brushing. If you have trouble getting floss between certain teeth, ask Mom, Dad or another adult for help. You could also try a pre-threaded flosser or floss holder.

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I Have Questions About Going to the Dentist

What is that red stuff the dentist sometimes paints on my teeth?
This is a dye that shows plaque on your teeth. Your dentist uses it to show you where to brush more to prevent cavities.

What are dental sealants?
Sealants help protect your molars from getting cavities. Sealants are sort of like gloves for your teeth. Gloves keep the snow off your fingers. Sealants keep food, bacteria and acid off your teeth. Your dentist paints the molars with a safe plastic coating. The coating stays on your teeth for a few years. It doesn't hurt to get sealants. Your mouth won't feel any different, either.

 

 

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