When should my child start brushing their teeth? What oral health habits should I be teaching? Is it too soon to see a dentist?
Here’s what you need to know about your child’s oral health.
1. When Should I Schedule My Child’s First Dental Appointment?
There will be a lot of firsts for baby. Among the exciting milestones, don’t forget other important milestones – like your child’s first visit to the dentist.
When should your child first visit the dentist? Prevention goes a long way when it comes to dental health. So, it’s important that your child starts to see the dentist early.
That’s why it’s important that your child starts to see the dentist early – within six months of getting their first tooth. According to Parents.com, this milestone usually occurs around six months, although some babies begin teething around four months, and some take as long as twelve months to teeth.
What happens at your child’s first dentist appointment? For the most part, this visit is designed to help get them used to the dentist. The only dental care they will receive will be their first fluoride treatment, which will strengthen their enamel and protect against cavities.
Children should usually wait until three years old for their first cleaning. However, if you notice problem areas on your 0-2 year old’s teeth, please give us a call and schedule an appointment!
Why is it important for young children to see the dentist?
Some parents may fall into the trap of thinking that since baby teeth eventually fall out, it isn’t important to care for them. However, this is a big mistake. Neglecting your child’s oral health can cause cavities and infections like gingivitis. And, setting good habits early is important – kids who start out with good brushing and flossing habits tend to experience fewer dental issues later in life.
Questions about your child and their specific situation? Check with your dentist to see what they recommend.
2. Is Fluoride Toothpaste Safe for My Baby?
Dentists used to recommend that children use non-fluoride toothpaste. But in 2014, the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs changed its recommendations, saying that caregivers “should brush their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth comes in.”
According to Edmond L. Truelove, DDS, “approximately 25 percent of children have or had cavities before entering kindergarten,” and this updated recommendation is designed to curb this problem.
How much toothpaste should you use? The ADA recommends a grain-sized amount or smear fo children under three, and a pea-sized amount for children 3-6. And remember to teach your child to rinse and spit, rather than ingesting the toothpaste.
3. How Do Pacifiers Affect Teeth?
There are plenty of great reasons to use a pacifier. Sucking is one of a baby’s primary reflexes, and a pacifier is a great way to soothe a crying infant. Pacifiers are also linked to a reduced risk of SIDS.
Pacifiers are a great resource for infants 0-6 months. But after six months, pacifiers are often more of an emotional aid than anything else. Children should stop using pacifiers by age two to prevent “pacifier teeth,” bite and jaw alignment problems which can occur with prolonged pacifier use.
4. What Dental Habits Should I Teach My Child?
Like adults, children should also brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day. We also recommend using a daily fluoride rinse.
Encourage your child to drink plenty of water. Water washes away plaque, bacteria, and other buildup that can be damaging to teeth. Plus, tap water usually contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth. (Remember, if your family drinks bottled water, look for a brand that includes fluoride so your child doesn’t miss out on the benefits of this valuable mineral.)
Making sure your child is eating a healthy diet can also go a long way towards good oral health. Limit your child’s intake of soda, sports drinks, and juices, as well as sweets and stick snacks like fruit snacks.
5. My Child is Afraid of the Dentist. What Can I Do?
Lots of kids are scared of the dentist. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re looking for a dentist for your family, make sure that you find a provider that offers personalized care in a comfortable, relaxed setting.
Many dental offices also offer sedation options for especially skittish patients, and barring specific health conditions, sedation dentistry is safe for most children. Questions? Talk to your dentist to learn whether this could be right for your child.
Summer is the Perfect Time to Schedule Your Child’s Dentist Appointment!
Has your child seen the dentist recently? Summer vacation is the perfect time to catch up on biannual cleanings. Schedule an appointment today!