The Importance of Taking Children to the Dentist at an Early Age
Did you know that early dental visits are vital if you want your child to have a healthy smile, good oral care, and better teeth development?
According to the dental experts and the ADA (American Dental Association), the right time for parents to take their kids to the dentist is within the first six months after their first baby tooth has erupted. This is widely encouraged because, during that time, a dental professional can assess their oral health and give you relevant information and advice on:
- The baby’s feeding practices
- Baby-bottle teeth decay
- Finger-sucking habits
- Pacifier habits, and
- Mouth cleaning
How to Prepare Your Kid
Parents are advised to schedule their children’s appointments during morning hours as this is when children are fresh and alert. If your child is older or a preschooler, you can prepare him/her mentally by explaining to him/her the importance of going to a dental practitioner and outlaying a picture of what he/she should expect. As a parent, you should try to build understanding and excitement to smoothen things out.
If you are a parent with dental anxieties, try not to instill your dislikes and fears in the child because your child’s feelings towards these visits might be different from yours. As much as it may be difficult for you, try to stay calm while inside the oral exam room and morally support your child. This is encouraged to refrain children from picking up their parents’ anxieties and causing them to become anxious.
Preparing the Dentist
During your child’s first appointment, give their dental practitioner a full history concerning their health. Tell the expert all your concerns and other conditions that the patient may have, such as being stubborn, fearful, defiant, or anxious.
We at Desert Ridge Pediatric Dentistry are well-trained and have enough experience to handle infants, children, and teenagers. Should you need our services, do not hesitate to give us a call and book an appointment. Some of the services we offer include oral healthcare programs for babies, fluoride treatment, preventive dentistry, oral cleanings and exams, pediatric dentistry, and dental sealants, among many more.
What Goes Down During their First Visit
The first appointment is usually scheduled to make the child comfortable and familiar with the oral care provider and takes about 45 minutes. What is to be included in this visit will depend on the age of the child. The practitioner may conduct a full oral exam to check for any abnormalities. Some of the areas that will be scrutinized are the gums, oral tissues, jaws, teeth, and the patient’s bite.
If need be, the oral practitioner will do a gentle, professional cleaning to remove any stains, tartar, or plaque present. Afterward, visits will be scheduled more often to help build confidence in your child and monitor the development progress.
Tips That Will Help Protect Your Child’s Primary Teeth
- Use a clean and damp piece of cloth to clean their gums before baby teeth set in
- Make sure your child does not hold on to the feeding bottle for long periods. Normally, the average time taken by a healthy child to empty the bottle stands at six minutes.
- Avoid giving them sweetened liquids, juice, or milk during bedtime as this encourages baby bottle teeth decay.
- Upon the appearance of their first tooth, use a small toothbrush with soft bristles and little toothpaste amounts (size similar to a rice grain) to clean the teeth. When your child is past the age of three and is capable of spitting out the paste after brushing, you can then increase the amount of the fluoridated toothpaste they use to pea-sized.
- Limit their intake of foods that increase the chances of developing tooth decay. Examples include sticky or hard candies, sweetened drinks, and fruit leather. According to a Phoenix In-house specialist, offering them a fruit when they ask for juice is one of the best things you can do to promote your kid’s oral health. This is because fruits contain fibers that clean teeth by scraping off stuck food particles. On the other hand, the sugar in the juice exposes their teeth to decay.
- Teach your child the proper way to brush teeth. You can have him/her watch you as you brush and then tell him/her to follow your brushing pattern. Experts recommend that you do this until they turn eight or seven.