Checklists form a large part of running your home and keeping your children on track at school. They can also provide a resource for managing your child’s day-to-day and long-term oral health. When your child is old enough to brush their own teeth, usually around the age of 6, keeping track of their oral health requires a consistent focus. While no longer actively brushing their teeth for them as you did when they were a baby and toddler, you can play a crucial role in their own oral health journey. 

For parents seeking a pediatric oral health management tool and guide, here is our oral health checklist to support your growing child.

Daily Oral Health Activities

  • Make sure children brush and floss twice a day.
  • Ask your child to drink a glass of water after meals to rinse debris from the gum line.
  • Watch for changes in your child’s teeth and gums, and make a quick note for your upcoming pediatric dentist appointment.
  • Try to maintain a joint brushing schedule with your growing child and encourage them to ask questions about their teeth and gums. 

Monthly Oral Health Activities

  • Check your child’s toothbrush to see if it needs replacement.
  • Check for visual changes in your child’s teeth and gums and discuss any new oral health symptoms.
  • Review your child’s diet and ensure they consume adequate amounts of oral health-beneficial foods such as almonds, celery, yogurt, and spinach.

Quarterly Oral Health Activities

  • Visit your pediatric dentist for a professional cleaning and analysis.
  • Review notes on your child’s gum and tooth changes and discuss potential oral health issues and treatment options with your dentist.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush.

Noteworthy Stages of Children’s Tooth and Gum Development Post Infancy

Ages 2 to 5 

The average child has 20 baby teeth by age 3. As you brush your three-year-old’s teeth, you can use small amounts of toothpaste (approximately the size of a grain of rice). Around 3 to 4 years of age, your child will also begin to learn how to brush their teeth under your supervision. 

Ages 6 to 12 

By age 6, adult teeth will likely erupt. The lower front tooth is usually the first to erupt. Molars will begin to erupt between the ages of 6 and 12, and the deep grooves on the molar chewing surfaces will require you to take extra care when helping your child brush their teeth. Your pediatric dentist may recommend dental sealants to mitigate cavities and protect the teeth during this crucial period.

Between the ages of 9 and 12, many children begin to experience the physical challenges associated with puberty. Hormonal changes and the increase in the consumption of sugary and starchy foods that come with them can have a profound impact on their teeth and gums during early puberty. 

Your pediatric dentist can help advise you on ways to engage your child in the oral care process and ensure they make effective oral health choices when outside the home. 

Age 12 to 18

With their hormones increasing blood flow to the gum tissue during puberty, teenagers are more susceptible to cavities than adults. Teens are also increasingly at risk of developing gum disease, so you may wish to begin quarterly visits to your local children’s dentist to help ensure your child’s oral development remains on track and to address any physiological changes to the mouth and jaw your child is experiencing. Book your child for an appointment the instant you recognize the symptoms of gingivitis, which include swollen gums and gums that bleed when brushing. Early detection is crucial in preventing serious tooth and gum infections during their teenage years. 

You may also be surprised to learn that your child can develop wisdom teeth as early as age 13. 

If your teenage child is experiencing pain from the back of the mouth just under the jaw, or they have difficulty chewing or opening their mouth, this is a clear sign of an impacted or infected wisdom tooth that requires immediate examination from your pediatric dentist.

Glow Is Your Pediatric Dental Care Partner for Every Stage of Oral Health Development

The entire team here at Glow works tirelessly to help provide a welcoming and supporting treatment environment for children of every age and oral health background. Our pinpoint focus on education and communication will ensure you have the information you need to make effective oral care choices for your child’s future. Our team also engages older children in their oral care process, acting as care advocates to inspire a lifetime of exceptional oral health.

If you have questions about your child’s oral health development, Glow Pediatric Dentistry welcomes you to contact our pediatric dentist’s office nearest you. Our clinic locations in Langley, Richmond, and Abbotsford serve families throughout their community. We look forward to hearing from you and helping support you and your child.