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National Children’s Dental Health Month

National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM). 2016 marks the 75th year observing this nationwide program. Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums1.

By the age of five, about 60 percent of U.S. children will have tooth decay. Minor as it may sound in the grand scheme, poor oral health care among children is a growing epidemic that not only affects their teeth, but also their intellectual and social development, and overall health. According to a report by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), tooth decay in young children can lead to malnutrition, life-threatening infections, poor school performance, and reluctance to speak, smile and play2.

Treating tooth decay is important for both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth. Beginning as early as six months after birth, the four front teeth—two upper and two lower—will erupt first. Most children will have a full set (20 teeth) of primary teeth by the time they are 3 years old. The child’s jaws continue to grow and adult molars begin to erupt at about age 6. Primary teeth begin to shed between ages 6 and 12 years. Below is a general chart that shows average teeth development.

Primary (Baby) Teeth Erupt
Permanent (Adult) Teeth Erupt

Upper Incisors (Central/ Lateral)

Upper Canines/ Cuspids

Upper Premolars (1st/ 2nd)

Upper Molars (1st/ 2nd/ 3rd)

8-12mos/ 9-13mos


(no primary premolars)

13-19mos/ 25-33mos

7-8yrs/ 8-9years


10-11yrs/ 10-12yrs

6-7yrs/ 12-13yrs/ 17-21yrs

Lower Incisors (Central/ Lateral)

Lower Canines/ Cuspids

Lower Premolars (1st/ 2nd)

Lower Molars (1st/ 2nd/ 3rd)

6-10mos/ 10-16mos


(no primary premolars)

14-18mos/ 23-31mos

6-7yrs/ 7-8yrs


10-12yrs/ 11-12yrs

6-7yrs/ 11-13yrs/ 17-21yrs

Primary teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. You can reduce the risk of tooth decay by never allowing your infant or toddler to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquid, and don’t dip a pacifier in sugar or honey3. Wipe your child’s gums with a wet washcloth or a clean gauze pad after each feeding. Begin brushing your child’s teeth with a little water as soon as the first tooth appears.

For the entire month of February when you mention this article, children under 10 will receive a free exam and a cleaning! Spaces are limited, so call now to schedule a complimentary dental visit for your child!

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