When a child’s teeth start coming in, the parents should bring them in. Not only to check on the development of the gums, teeth, and bite, but to also go over with the parents the child’s nutrition, the growth and development of the child and how that relates to their overall oral health.
One of the reasons early dental care is so important (and I’m talking about even 1-year-old visits), is because of the preventative aspect of doing so. Juices contain sugar and acids, and some formulas contain sugar as well. Even breast milk can lead to tooth decay.
A lot of people undervalue the importance of early dental care because “they’re just baby teeth”. But it’s not just that, developing early habits that promote oral hygiene and taking care of their health is important.
We also want to try to keep the baby’s teeth from decaying prematurely. Oral disease affects an estimated 2.5 million children around the US and can result in some lifelong problems that are not only painful but also very expensive.
What to expect at your child’s appointment.
When you go with your child, you can probably expect the following to occur:
- Thorough, but gentle, examination of your child’s mouth (gums, teeth, jaw, their bite alignment, and the tissue in the mouth). The doctor will want to observe and monitor growth and development, to determine the lack of or presence of problem areas (oral health-related, obviously).
- If necessary, a gentle cleaning that may involve just a light polishing of the teeth. This is done to remove any plaque and calculus build-up around the teeth, and on the gums, and to help remove staining that can occur.
- A demonstration on proper home care.
- Determining the need for fluoride.
- In some instances, x-rays will be needed.
Parents can help their children learn proper oral hygiene by example too. Simply start making a habit of brushing and flossing in front of your children and letting them watch. They will start to learn the proper way to do it if shown to them.
Early dental care is important, show your children that it is and they will start developing good habits early.