Children, like adults, should see a dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam. According to the American Dental Association, their first visit should take place much sooner than most parents realise. According to the organization’s general recommendations, parents should plan to schedule their baby’s first dental appointment when he or she is six months old, or when the first tooth appears.
Why Do Children Need to See a Dentist at Such a Young Age?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, approximately 20% of children under the age of five have some degree of tooth decay. Working with a dentist early in your child’s life will allow you to learn and instil good oral health habits in your child. A paediatric dentist can also help you and your baby get through the teething process. If your child does develop an oral health problem, seeing the dentist twice a year is the best way to diagnose and treat it early.
Depending on your child’s age and level of ability, the following is what you can expect at their first dental appointment:
- Make sure your child’s teeth and gums are clean.
- Examine your child’s oral hygiene routine. Remove any dental plaque that has accumulated on his or her teeth.
- Based on developmental milestones, demonstrate the best way to brush your child’s teeth.
Another advantage of beginning dental appointments at a young age is that your child will learn to trust the dentist and will not develop the anxiety that many older children do when visiting the dentist. Keeping up with bi-annual appointments reinforces your child’s level of trust.
Taking Care of a Baby’s Teeth at Home
Parents are frequently surprised to learn that they should clean their baby’s gums before the first teeth appear. Simply take a small piece of gauze or cloth, dampen it slightly, and rub it over your baby’s gums after each feeding. Another option is to use a soft toothbrush designed specifically for very young children. Just make sure not to use fluoride toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush until he or she is at least two years old.
Children’s Tooth Decay Symptoms
According to the National Institute of Dental and Cranial Research, 42 percent of children aged 2 to 11 have at least one primary tooth with a dental cavity. If you notice any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your child’s dentist:
- Breath problems
- Gums that bleed
- Sensitivity of the gums or teeth
- Stains on a tooth’s surface that can be black, brown, or white in colour
Parents frequently make the mistake of assuming that because primary teeth fall out, they are not worth treating. Unfortunately, untreated tooth decay can result in the premature loss of baby teeth, which can have a negative impact on the eruption of permanent teeth.
Make an appointment for your child today.
Find your nearest Ideal Dental location today to make an appointment with one of our reputable dentists. We welcome new paediatric patients and look forward to working with you and your family.