Early Dental Care
A general discussion about teething and infants’ new teeth
It is important for children to establish positive dental health practices early in life to ensure good oral and overall health. Parents can set the example for their children by providing good nutrition and setting up a routine in the home for brushing teeth. Parents should assist and supervise young children in brushing their teeth, and the family should keep a schedule of regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Establishing a relationship with a dentist by finding a “dental home” for your child is an important first step in giving your child a proper foundation for a healthy life, beginning in early childhood and extending through the adolescent years and into adulthood. A dental home helps to build a trusting relationship and provides the parent with a resource for guidance in establishing healthy dental habits and cavity prevention. If your child is well acquainted with the dentist and the dental staff, he or she will be more comfortable if intensive dental treatment is ever needed. With a dental home, children are more likely to receive proper preventative treatments and routine oral health care.
When Should a Child Go to the Dentist?
A general rule of thumb is that your child should visit the dentist at least by the first birthday. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends seeing a dentist when your child’s first tooth appears. Children should have regularly scheduled checkups and cleanings at least every six months in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. Based on your child’s specific needs, your pediatric dentist may recommend a different schedule.
Importance of Early Dental Care
Maintaining the health of your child’s primary or baby teeth is essential. Untreated cavities can affect the development of your child’s permanent teeth. Baby teeth provide space in the mouth and help guide your child’s permanent teeth into proper placement. Healthy baby teeth are essential to the proper development of muscles and jawbones, and they also aid in speech development. Generally, your child’s front teeth will start to fall out around 6 to 7 years of age. The back teeth generally remain until your child is 11 to 13 years old.
Early prevention of dental problems is essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The dental staff will introduce your child to proper brushing. Your dentist will recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing and other home treatments to prevent cavities. A general rule of thumb is to brush twice a day for two minutes. The combination of home oral care routines, regular dental visits and a well-balanced diet will establish healthy habits in your child that will last a lifetime.