A child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable! Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. We at Children’s Dental Care make a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple, kid-friendly words to describe dental tools and some procedures. We want you and your child to feel at ease the moment your family arrives at our office!
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends…
Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is important that your child’s newly erupted teeth (erupting at 6 to 12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning.
Getting to know your teeth is fun!
When new teeth arrive
Your child’s first primary, or “baby” teeth, will begin to erupt between the ages of six to twelve months, and will continue to erupt until about age three. During this time, your child’s gums may feel tender and sore. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth begin erupting at age six, and continue until age twenty-one. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (32, when including wisdom teeth).
Adopting healthy oral hygiene habits
As your child’s teeth erupt, be sure to monitor occasionally for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so make sure that your child’s teeth are brushed after feeding or eating. We recommend brushing two times a day for optimal oral hygiene.
Daily brushing is ever so important beginning with the arrival of the very first baby tooth! When a baby’s tooth erupts, parents should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a rice grain sized amount of toothpaste. For children younger than two, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless advised to do so by your dentist or other healthcare professional. As your child grows in dexterity and skill it is good for him to brush his teeth himself to practice and develop brushing skills, but it is best for a parent’s touch as well to be sure the child gets a thorough brushing each day. Our staff will teach and review brushing and flossing techniques with your child at each hygiene visit, and with daily parent follow-up children will move toward total independence with their brushing. This often needs to be the case until age six or seven.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and Dr. Wullbrandt or the hygienist who performs your child’s cleaning will discuss with you the right time to start flossing your child’s teeth. If you notice signs of decay, contact Dr. Wullbrandt immediately.
Preventing tooth decay with regular checkups
Tooth decay is caused by sugars (which can include carbohydrates in the form of breads and crackers) left in your mouth that turn into acid, which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for two simple reasons: 1) Many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits, and 2) Children and adolescents make poor dietary choices like frequent juice or soda, “gummies”, and goldfish crackers, chips, etc. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
Your child should visit the dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your child’s regular checkups.
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