The American Dental Association recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist occur by their first birthday. Visiting your dentist while your child is very young can help in early detection of potential problems.
What Can a Pediatric Dentist Do For My Child?
Your dentist can examine your child’s dental health with a thorough examination.
The dentist will check for:
- Proper Growth of Temporary Teeth
- Proper Growth of Permanent Teeth
- Tartar Buildup
- Gum Disease
In addition, your child will learn about:
- Dangers of Bad Oral Hygiene
A pediatric dentist can perform all checks with a gentle hand. Pediatric dentistry should be a fun learning experience for your child as well as an opportunity for them to practice patience.
When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?
Book a dentist appointment as soon as you see teeth emerge
Most experts say you should take your child to the dentist within six months of when the first tooth arrives. If you see any problems like discoloration, book an appointment as soon as possible.
Attend the short and informal appointment.
Since your baby is just starting to get teeth, the appointment will most likely be brief and a good time for your child to get used to the dentist and what happens during dentist appointments. This is a great time for you to ask any questions you have about teething, thumb-sucking, and more.
Schedule a follow-up appointment. Most dentists recommend visiting the dentist every six months to have professional teeth cleanings and to prevent any oral health problems from occurring.
How Can I Teach My Children Good Oral Hygiene?
For infants, don’t allow them to:
Sleep With Baby Bottles
This is probably the most common and most detrimental mistake that so many parents make. Babies are sometimes put to bed with a bottle of sweet milk or juice in their grasp. What ends up happening is that the babies put the bottle in their mouth to suck on and fall asleep in that position. As a result, the bottle (and its contents) sit right next to the baby’s teeth, which, like sucking on candy, leads easily and quickly to tooth decay.
If your baby falls asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth, remember to take it out of his or her hands. If you’re putting your baby to sleep with a bottle, only put water in it. As a general rule, don’t put anything too sugary into the contents of the bottle, like milk, juices, or sodas. The best things to put in the bottle include baby formula, breast milk, and water.
Use Honeyed Pacifiers
Some parents find that putting honey or sugar on pacifiers helps babies keep it in their mouths and protest less to being given the pacifier. This practice, while effective, is actually very detrimental to your baby’s oral health, since it leaves sugar in the mouth right next to their teeth for extended periods of time.
Eat Sugars and Starches
Both sugary and starchy foods are big contributors to cavities in teeth, regardless of age. Don’t expose your child to them too often. This also prevents them from developing a sweet tooth or bread craving.
For children, teach them to:
Limit Sugary Drinks
Sodas loaded with sugar are harmful for adult teeth, but they cause even more damage to your child’s newly erupted teeth. About 20 percent of children are exposed to these drinks every day. It’s important to limit your child’s intake of soda at a young age so they can grow up with good dental habits.
Brush Teeth Twice a Day For Two Minutes
Once your child’s teeth start to show up, it’s important to start brushing them twice a day. Not only does this help prevent their teeth from tooth decay, but it also helps the child grow up with this great habit. But make sure to use special non-fluoride toothpaste while the child is too young to know to spit out toothpaste.
Enjoy Dentist Visits
It’s important to not wait until there is an issue before taking your child to the dentist. Before your child’s first birthday, it’s recommended to take your baby to the dentist. From that point on, you should take your child to the dentist every six months to prevent cavities and gum disease. If your child starts visiting the dentist at a young age, they will grow up enjoying their routine dental visits.