Dental care for your children should start even before their first tooth erupts. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a pediatric dentist by their first birthday or within six months of getting their first tooth. As a parent, here a few other essentials you need to know.
Brushing Baby’s “Teeth”
Even before your baby has teeth, you should focus on their dental hygiene. Ideally, you should wipe clean their gums with a clean piece of gauze. If your child gets used to this after meals or at the beginning and end of each day, it will be easier when you finally start brushing.
When your child gets their first tooth, it’s time to start brushing. Use a small soft bristle brush. Don’t share your toothbrush, as that can allow bacteria from your mouth to migrate over to your child’s mouth. Also, use fluoride-free toothpaste so that your child doesn’t swallow it. Once your child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste, you can switch to toothpaste with fluoride.
Getting Ready for the First Appointment
If you take your child to their first appointment when they are one, they will be too young to get nervous. Make sure to find a pediatric dentist who offers a calming environment. That way, you can rest assured that your child will have a positive first experience. That lays the foundation for positive feelings toward the dentist as your child gets older.
As your child gets older, there are a number of books that can help explain dental care. You may want to read those together. If your child has jitters about going to the dentist, work on relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, and always make sure you choose a pediatric dentist who makes your child feel comfortable.
Understanding the Importance of Baby Teeth
Some parents think that because baby teeth fall out that they aren’t important. This is not true. The health of your child’s baby teeth can affect their oral health for the rest of their life.
Each baby tooth saves a space for the child’s adult teeth. If a tooth is extracted early, other teeth may shift into that spot, and your child’s adult teeth may go into the wrong spots. Additionally, if baby teeth have untreated decay, that can spread to other teeth, and as your child starts to get adult teeth, they may also get cavities.
Helping Your Child Safeguard Their Dental Health
To help your child have a healthy mouth, start by modeling positive dental care. Consider brushing with your child so they know that everyone needs to do it. Also, help young children to brush. They usually can’t reach back teeth by themselves.
You may want to invest in an electric toothbrush. The vibrating bristles help to get teeth cleaner. Alternatively, you may want to get a toothbrush that plays a song so that your child knows how long to brush.
If you’re ready to see a pediatric dentist, contact Suwanee Center for Family Dentistry today. We treat children of all ages, and we would love to be your family’s dentist.