Bringing your young child to the dentist may seem like a difficult hurdle — both in your mind and your child’s mind. But there are reasons why dental care is important for children, even at early ages.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends parents take their children for a dental checkup no later than their first birthday.
Why get checkups so early?
Dental visits help protect your child against cavities, which can be painful. During visits, the dentist can remove plaque buildup and give a fluoride treatment to strengthen your child’s tooth enamel. Dentists also check out jawbone alignment and look for mouth tissue problems. Healthy baby teeth are important in helping your child learn to speak, for chewing food and for directing permanent teeth along a path to grow into the proper position.
What do dentists do during your child’s first checkup?
There are a number of things the dentist will do during your child’s first checkup as far as examining the child and discussing dental care with you:
- Examine the teeth, bite, gums, tissue and check for tooth decay
- Based on diet and dental hygiene, evaluate your child’s risk for tooth decay
- Discuss habits that could affect your child’s teeth like use of pacifiers, thumb sucking, etc.
- Discuss teething and development
- Show you how to brush and floss your child’s teeth
Discuss regular checkups (AAPD recommends every 6 months or more frequently if dental problems)
How early should your child start brushing and using toothpaste?
The AAPD recommends you start cleaning your child’s gums beginning at birth. You can use a soft infant toothbrush or a cloth and water. When the teeth start breaking through the gums you can use a very small smear of toothpaste and brush the baby’s teeth twice a day with an age appropriate toothbrush. When children reach the ages of three to six, then increase the amount of toothpaste to a about the size of a pea and help them brush their teeth. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste and don’t swallow it.
Discuss dental care with Dr. Baker
At Hutto Hippo Family Dental, Dr. Baker is a caring dentist who works closely with you to ensure your child is getting proper dental treatment. He is glad to answer questions and address your concerns.