Children's dental health is important even if they haven't gotten all their teeth in or only have their baby teeth. Understanding what effect poor oral hygiene has on a child's mouth and how to deal with dental visits can help parents ensure the best dental health for their children.
Generally, children see the dentist for the first time once their teeth appear. However, your child should see a dentist at around one year old.
Common Dental Ailments In Children
Children do get cavities, but they are also susceptible to other oral hygiene issues that are not common in adults. Depending on age, a child may have issues from normal everyday habits and feeding.
- Sucking on baby bottles
- Using pacifiers
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Mouth cleaning procedures
A child may have tooth decay from taking baby bottles to bed with them or from a habit of sucking on pacifiers or thumbs causing problems with teeth placement. A pediatric dentist helps parents understand the issues and how to fix them.
Prepare For The First Visit
At the first visit, give the dentist the child's full medical history. The dentist also needs to know about a child's temperament and anxieties. This is an area where parents can help the dentist and child.
Let the dentist know if your child is having separation anxiety, is stubborn, or tends to have tantrums. Pediatric dentists have experience dealing with all sorts of attitudes, they just need to know more about the child before the visit begins to make the first visit go smoothly.
A good first orthodontics visit sets the precedent for future visits, so it's in the child's best interest that it be as positive as possible.
Caring For Teeth At Home
The dentist helps parents by answering questions and giving advice on how to care for a child's teeth at home in-between visits. Some tips to help your child maintain good oral hygiene include:
- Brushing gums with a soft brush when the first tooth comes in
- Don't give children a bottle at bedtime
- Take away pacifiers when teeth start to erupt
- Limit sugary snacks and juices that can lead to decay
- Help the child brush his or her teeth until about age 7 or 8
Together you and the pediatric dentist can get your child on to a good start with oral hygiene. Developing good habits early is the key to ensuring children continues good habits as they age and enjoy a lifetime of good oral health.