Early Dental Care

Early dental care baby brushing teeth (small)At Arlington Pediatric Dentistry, we believe that developing a lifetime of healthy smiles starts as soon as a child is born. When you’re looking for an affordable dentist in or around Arlington, VA, we’re proud to say that we’ll be there for your child from the very beginning. We’re glad to go above and beyond in providing the gentle dental care that will make your child feel at his or her most comfortable in our family-friendly environment. As your trusted Arlington, VA children’s dentist, we’ll also be glad to give you tips and advice on how to best take care of your child’s teeth before, during, and after they erupt.

Infant Tooth Eruption

Your child’s teeth will actually start forming before birth. However, they won’t push through the gums until about six months of age. At this point, the primary (baby) teeth will begin to erupt. The lower central incisors will be the first to sprout, followed by the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth will erupt by the age of three, though they won’t be in any specific order.


Around the time the first tooth erupts and until the rest of your child’s primary teeth erupt, your child’s gums will be sore and sometimes irritable. In order to soothe your child’s gums, we recommend rubbing the sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon, or a wet cloth. Teething rings will also work, but make sure to avoid teething biscuits – these contain sugar that can be harmful to your child’s teeth.

It’s also important to watch out for baby bottle decay while your child is teething. Baby bottle decay occurs when a child falls asleep while being breastfed or bottle-fed. What happens is that the sugar in the liquid mixes with the bacteria in dental plaque and it will form acids that attack the tooth enamel, leading to decay. When your child is awake, this isn’t a problem, because his or her saliva is flowing and it will carry away the sugary liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow is lessened and the liquids will pool around the teeth. It’s important to make sure that your child doesn’t fall asleep while sucking on a bottle with milk or any sugary liquids. If your child needs it to sleep, try using a bottle filled with water or a pacifier.

Why Primary Teeth Are Important

While many people think that primary teeth aren’t as important because they fall out at an early age, the truth is that primary teeth play a vital role for children in the following ways:

  • Primary teeth act as the guides for permanent teeth in order to make sure that they don’t come in crooked or misaligned.
  • Healthy primary teeth allow a child to eat well and maintain good nutrition.
  • They also help give a child clear pronunciation and good speech habits.
  • Having healthy teeth will provide a stronger self-image for a child.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

The first dental appointment should be scheduled right around the time of your child’s first birthday. The most vital part of this visit is to acclimate your child to the dentist, the staff, and the office. A pleasant and comfortable first visit will lead to your child feeling at ease when visiting in the future.

Good Diet and Healthy Teeth

The teeth, bones, and soft tissue of the mouth need a balanced and nutritious diet to stay healthy. Eating a variety of foods from the five different food groups will help children minimize their cavities and also avoid other dental problems. Unfortunately, many of the snacks that children like are full of sugar and can cause cavities. Because of this, it’s best to try to steer them away from these sugary foods and encourage them to eat healthy foods like vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and cheeses.

Contact Your Arlington, VA Children’s Dentist Today!

If you’re looking for an affordable dentist in or around Arlington, VA, you’ve come to the right place! You can schedule an appointment with us by filling out our online appointment request form or by giving us a call at (703) 671-5437. If you have any other questions or comments for us, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We hope to hear from you soon!