Because children begin to grow teeth at different times, it can be challenging to advise when they should first be taken to the dentist. However, it is best to take them within six months to a year of their first tooth erupting. While this age may be young for some, it is still important as the dentist will inform the parent about infant feeding and pacifier habits, baby bottle tooth decay, teething and cleaning the baby’s mouth, and finger sucking.
What To Do When You Bring Kids to the Dentist
When going to the dentist, you must prepare the child for the first dental visits. If possible, book a morning appointment as the child will still be fresh and alert. If your child is a preschooler or slightly older, you should let them know what to expect when visiting the dentist. By explaining to your child what to expect, you build excitement for the big day.
It would be best to prepare yourself for a visit by discussing various issues and questions with the dentist. Even if you do not like dental visits and are uncomfortable in a dental chair, be careful not to scare the child. Let the dentist know your fears and concerns in advance.
As a parent, you are likely to know how your young children will react when they go to the dentist for their oral health check. For instance, children aged months to two years are likely to get upset if taken from their parents. Some children between two and three may be secure enough to be taken from their parents for short periods but may be nervous when the dentist carries out procedures such as a dental filling. However, most children over four years are likely to sit in a different room and have their procedures carried out away from the parent.
When Should the First Oral Health Visit Be?
For optimum dental health, the first dental visit should come after the first tooth eruption. Alternatively, you can visit the dentist within the first year as the other baby teeth continue erupting.
Ideally, the first dental appointment will last less than an hour. When you take your child to the dentist, pediatric dentists will assess their primary teeth, including the bite, jaws, and gums. They will also assess oral tissue growth according to the rules of pediatric dentistry. Early dental visits could help detect any issues that would need correction in the future.
Subsequent Dental Care Visits
The next visit will ideally be six months after the first. The dentist may schedule the next appointment sooner according to the health of the child. Your child’s confidence will likely build in the subsequent visits, and they will become comfortable with the dentist.
What Can You Do To Protect The Child’s Teeth at Home
Protecting your child’s teeth starts in the home.
According to the American Dental Association, some of the steps you should take before their teeth erupt, clean their gums with a soft, damp, clean cloth. As soon as the first tooth comes in, brush with a soft-bristled brush and grain-sized toothpaste. As they get to three years, start using a pea-sized dab of toothpaste for the child’s teeth and teach them how to spit. Continue to supervise brushing until they are seven or eight.
Additionally, avoid baby bottle tooth decay by not giving the bay liquids such as milk and juice at bed or nap time.
Most importantly, limit foods that may encourage decay, such as candy, sweetened drinks, and fruit leather. Their teeth will remain healthy even as their permanent teeth eventually begin to erupt.