Learn Why It Is Important to Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups for Your Child
Learn Why Early Dental Care is Important for Infants and Toddlers
Did you know that you should begin good dental hygiene as soon as your baby is born? I remember my pediatrician telling me during one of my child's well child appointments that I should be taking a wet rag and wiping my child's gums to help clean the bacteria out of the mouth. My child didn't even have any teeth yet so I was kinda confused by the doctor's statement.
As a parent it is my responsibility to take care of my baby's teeth so that my child doesn't lose their teeth prematurely or have a mouth full of cavities. Once your child gets their baby teeth in, you should begin brushing their teeth at least twice a day. Also, you should start taking your child to the dentist once they have their very first tooth or by their first birthday which ever is sooner.
It is important to make sure that you schedule your child's first visit and follow any care that the dentist recommends. During regular check-ups the dentist can exam your child's mouth and catch any problems early on. Plus, it gets your child in the habit of seeing a dentist and makes them less prone to have anxiety at the thought of going to the dentist.
Reasons Why Early Dental Care is Need for Infants and Toddlers
I know it seems silly to take your child to the dentist at an early age and you are probably wondering why a baby even needs routine dental care. Here are some reasons why it is important for your child to see the dentist on a regular basis:
- Start a prevention program
- Your dentist can determine if your child suffers from Early Childhood Caries (aka bottle tooth decay or decay from breastfeeding)
- Decay starts as soon as your child takes their first bite of food.
- Healthy teeth help your child chew easier.
- Your baby's teeth are responsible for a confident smile.
- Provides your child with a lifetime of healthy dental care.
When Should I Start Brushing My Child's Teeth?
Like I mentioned earlier, as soon as your baby is born you should wash their mouth out using a washcloth and water. As soon as your child gets their very first tooth, you should begin brushing their teeth with an infant sized soft toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste. You just need a tiny amount on the tooth brush so that they aren't swallowing very much. It is very important that you brush their teeth twice a day.
Once your child turns 2 years old, then you should begin putting a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on your child's toothbrush. It is important to teach your child not to swallow the toothpaste and how to properly brush their teeth. If your child insists on brushing their own teeth, it is perfectly acceptable to let them do it themselves first and then go over their teeth to make sure that they brushed them properly. They don't have the knowledge or capability to brush their teeth correctly so it is important that you help them until they are 5 years old.
Why is it Important to Take Care of Your Baby's Milk Teeth?
It is very important to take care of your child's milk teeth also referred to as baby teeth. These teeth are important for your child's speech development and for learning how to chew foods properly. If these teeth prematurely fall out before they are supposed, it can cause potential speech delays depending on which teeth fall out and your child might have trouble chewing certain foods. Your child's baby teeth also form a path for your child's permanent teeth to come in properly.
What Are Some Ways to Protect My Child's Baby Teeth From Decay?
Did you know that with proper dental care from the start children are less likely to develop cavities and other dental problems? Here are some ways to protect your child's baby teeth from decay:
- See a pediatric dentist every 6 months for check-ups, cleanings, and fluoride treatments.
- Brush your child's teeth twice a day.
- Learn how to properly floss your child's teeth.
- Get sealants put on your child's teeth.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin layer of plastic coating that the dentist paints on the teeth. This thin layer of plastic simply prevents food from creeping into the small crevices in the teeth.The sealant quickly bonds to enamel in the grooves and natural indentions in the teeth. It works by forming a protective barrier and prevents food particles from sitting in the pits of the teeth. If food particles sit in the pits of the teeth, there is a chance that the food can start breaking down the enamel on the tooth.
Each sealant will last roughly 10 years and will need to be reapplied. If your child has sealants put on their teeth, the dentist will need to continually monitor them to make sure that they aren't chipping away. If they are chipping away, your child's dentist can fix them right away to prevent your child from getting cavities.
Summary of Caring for Your Baby's Teeth
- Start washing baby's mouth as soon as possible.
- Take your baby to the dentist once they have a tooth or by their first birthday.
- Begin brushing teeth with a small smear of toothpaste once your child has their first tooth.
- Brush your child's teeth until the age of 5 to prevent decay.
- Take care of your baby's milk teeth.
- See a dentist on a regular basis.
- Get sealants put on your child's teeth.
If you don't teach your child how to take care of their teeth, they will likely end up with severe decay, their teeth will break or crack, gum disease, and it will result in speech and confidence issues into their adult like. If your child's teeth end up broken or cracked, it will require expensive dental work in order to restore their teeth or they will need dentures or dental implants at a young age. I hope that this post encourages you to take care of your child's teeth from the day they are born and promote healthy dental habits.
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