While it seems almost ridiculous to mention that children have no erupted teeth when they are born, the fact is quick to create a misconception among many parents that “dental care can wait”.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 40% of kids exhibit tooth decay just before entering kindergarten. This is reason enough to start dental treatment early and be consistent throughout our children’s formative years.
Pediatric Dental Care
Dentistry for children involves a whole range of oral health care tests and procedures, but it always begins with you, the parent. A dental practice that treats kids will educate you on issues like feeding bottle tooth decay, your baby’s pacifier and finger-sucking habits, proper infant feeding and mouth-cleaning techniques, how to manage teething, and many other tips that go a long way to starting your baby on the path to excellent oral health.
Throughout your child’s development, your dentist can provide…
- Assessment of both mother and child for dental caries
- Preventive cleaning and fluoride treatment
- Diet recommendations
- Tooth alignment and improper bite treatment (orthodontics) when necessary
- Detection of oral conditions with underlying medical issues like diabetes, inborn heart problems, asthma and hay fever, among many others
- Treatment of gum disease and other related conditions
- Tooth injury care as needed (fractured teeth, trauma, etc.)
Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
Babies usually grow teeth by around their sixth month of life, and according to the American Dental Association, you should take your child to a pediatric dentist when their first tooth erupts or just before their first birthday, whichever comes first.
The wisdom behind children’s dental care lies in detecting issues early on so that more treatment options can be explored, and the chances of complete correction can be maximized. Of course, dentists can treat problems as they occur, but early detection helps stop potential complications in their tracks.
Shaping Good Oral Habits
Of course, as your child grows older, those regular trips to the dentist will help them learn the value of good oral hygiene and forming habits that promote oral health, such as regular tooth brushing and avoiding sugary foods. But remember that kids are not inherently driven to practice oral hygiene, so you have to be creative.
For example, you can use a star chart, or any reward system for that matter, to add excitement and help them enjoy tooth brushing – at least until they’re old enough to pick up the habit on their own.
Your Children’s Dental Visits Are Essential!
Dentists can help you shape your child’s future by laying the foundation for excellent oral health – and your peace of mind. If you have a child that hasn’t yet visited the dentist, the best time to call the dentist’s office is now!