It’s Never Too Early to Prepare Your Kids for Dental Care

Teething

Teething is considered one of the first rituals of mankind. Although babies do not have teeth yet, their teeth begin to appear when they are about six months old. During their first year of life, all 20 milk teeth push on the gums, and by age 3, most children have a full set of teeth. When a baby is around 6 months old, the front four teeth usually push against the gums – but some children only get their first teeth at 12 to 14 months old.

Some babies become irritable, picky and sleepless when their teeth begin to erupt, drooling more often or losing their appetite. Babies do not normally have diarrhea, fever or rash when teething. Therefore, consult your doctor if they experience such symptoms and continue to be irritable and restless.

First Visit to the Dentist

When your child’s first tooth appears, schedule a visit to the doctor. According to the ADA, the first dentist visit should occur within six months of the first tooth appearing, not after the first birthday. Do not delay until they start school or when there is a problem.

Teach your child to be comfortable with good dental habits. Usually, during the first visit, the dentist will examine your child’s mouth to check dental development and ensure your child’s comfort. To make a visit to the dentist more convenient:

  • Set up a daytime appointment so the kids are well rested and cooperative.

  • Keep your worries to yourself. Children can easily sense your emotions, so emphasize the positive aspects.

  • Never go to the dentist to punish/threat your child.

  • Never use a visit to the dentist as a bribe.

  • Speak positively to your child about going to the dentist.

At your dentist visit, expect the dentist to:

  • Examine for oral problems or cavities;

  • Find out if there is a risk of developing dental caries;

  • Clean teeth and give tips for daily care;

  • Talk about teething, pacifier use, or thumb-sucking habits;

  • Discuss necessary treatment and schedule the next appointment.

fluoride

The mineral called fluoride is found naturally in all water sources such as lakes, oceans and rivers. It is also sometimes included in toothpaste, mouthwash, and a number of common tap waters. Babies and young children who don’t get enough fluoride may be more prone to tooth decay as fluoride protects their tooth enamel from it.

Fluoride also repairs weakened enamel. Because not every bottle of water contains fluoride, children who regularly drink it or use non-fluoridated tap water will not reap the benefits. If you are in doubt whether your tap water contains fluoride, ask your local/state health department or water supplier.

pacifiers

It is quite common for babies and young children to suck their thumbs, fingers or pacifiers. When a pacifier is dipped in sweet foods such as honey, candy, and sweetened juice, it can cause tooth decay.

Tooth decay can also begin when saliva containing decay-causing bacteria is passed from a mother or caregiver to the baby. Also, bacteria can be transmitted to the baby when both put the baby’s feeding spoon or pacifier in their mouth.

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