Upon welcoming a new child into the world, there are a number of important steps parents take to ensure the child’s health. One aspect that may often go overlooked during that whirlwind first year is an age one dental visit. Getting off on the right foot by making that first dentist appointment for your child will help start the process of protecting his or her teeth for years to come.
One question dentists are often asked is “how soon should I start taking care of my child’s teeth?” The answer is as soon as they start to appear, which is generally around the age of six months. According to the American Dental Association, a baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth. Those baby teeth that begin coming through the gums around six months help set the stage for future smiles by keeping space in the jaw for adult teeth. Even at such a young age, children can still develop tooth decay of their baby teeth. Keeping their mouths clean and applying a minimal amount of fluoride toothpaste to any baby teeth are a few ways to maintain good dental health. As children grow old enough to brush their teeth by themselves, supervision is still necessary so that the teeth are being cared for properly.
By scheduling your child’s first dental visit, you can help prevent early childhood cavities and establish a dental home for the child, getting an assessment of how susceptible he or she is to decay. Besides the exam, your dentist will provide valuable instruction on better oral hygiene. Children should never be put to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Another measure parents can take is encouraging children as they approach year one to begin drinking from a cup instead of a bottle. By taking these few steps, parents can start forming healthy dental habits for their children that they can hopefully carry with them.
SOURCE: Pennsylvania Dental Association