Even though many children will have at least a few fillings while growing up, tooth decay isn’t a given and it can normally be prevented. By taking the right kind of action now, you can help your child develop the kind of healthy dental habits that will benefit them well into adulthood and hopefully for life.
With the right professional dental care, your child could grow up with cavity-free teeth and without the fears and phobias that affect so many adults when visiting a dentist.
The right age to begin your child’s dental care is soon after birth, as when your child has finished feeding, you can gently clean their gums with either a soft baby toothbrush or with a clean washcloth or piece of damp gauze.
This might seem extreme, but it helps to get a very young child used to the sensation of having their mouth cleaned, so by the time their teeth emerge it will be a familiar event. Cleaning their gums also helps to remove the excess sugars found in milk and formula.
Most children will begin teething from six months onwards and parents and caregivers can book their child’s first dental visit soon after the first tooth has pushed through the gums. This might seem extremely early for a child to visit a dentist but there are several clear advantages in taking this approach towards their dental care.
Firstly, this early visit is just a quick examination, if your child is willing to let the dentist look inside their mouth. All the dentist wants to see is if their teeth and jaws are developing correctly. This quick checkup usually takes place when a baby is sitting on their mother or caregiver’s lap, so they always feel safe and comfortable.
Secondly, a dental office can smell quite strange at first, even to adults, not to mention all the new sights and sounds. These early visits allow a young child to become accustomed to a brand-new environment while they are comfortable and relaxed. This is much more preferable than waiting until your child needs dental treatment because they are in pain or discomfort and when they may begin to associate a dental office with this unpleasant sensation.
Thirdly, the dental team at your dental office are trained to offer useful advice about caring for your child’s mouth at home. You can ask questions and will get advice on the right products to use, for example when to begin using fluoridated toothpaste, as well as practical demonstrations on how to brush their teeth, and how to begin flossing teeth when they come into contact with each other.
These first dental visits will provide you with a wealth of useful information and all the time, your child will begin to grow up just seeing dental appointments as a normal event.
Your general dentist office may have a dedicated pediatric dentist on their team. If they don’t, it can be worth looking for a pediatric dental office. Although you probably have a lot of confidence in your general dentist, they haven’t received the kind of specialized training given to a pediatric dentist.
After first qualifying as a general dentist, a pediatric dentist has then chosen to spend several more years studying childhood dentistry and learning specialized techniques that will enable them to provide the very highest level of dental care for your child.
This kind of dedicated dental care can be invaluable because your child’s dental requirements as they grow up are very different to an adult’s dental needs. Even if you choose to stick with your general dentist, these early visits will allow them to provide the very best preventative dental care right from the start.
As your child settles into a regular regime of checkups and cleanings, the dentist will provide them with a personalized preventative dental care plan. This will detail how frequently they should see a dentist and any treatments that might be useful in preventing common diseases like tooth decay and gum disease.
You will find a good dentist can also offer advice on your child’s diet. This can be extremely useful if your child has begun to develop problems with tooth decay even though you make sure they stick to a good oral hygiene routine at home.
Unfortunately, many popular foods that appear to be healthy can contain huge amounts of sugars. Your dentist will be able to identify any foods that could be causing problems and can suggest ways for making a child’s diet more tooth friendly.
Other preventative dental care treatments can include fluoride treatments and fissure sealants. Even though most public water is fluoridated, sometimes additional fluoride treatments that are applied topically to the tooth surfaces will be enormously helpful in helping to harden tooth enamel.
Popular treatments include fluoride varnish and fluoride gels. Fissure or dental sealants are an excellent way to protect a child’s adult back teeth and are generally best applied soon after these teeth have erupted. Large cavities can often form in these tooth surfaces that are used to grind up food and which tend to have lots of deep grooves and fissures that cannot be easily cleaned with a toothbrush.
By booking that age one dental visit, you will help to provide your kid with a great start in life. A healthy and beautiful smile is a great asset, helping to give a child good self-esteem and self-confidence, and good preventative dental care is far more cost-effective. Additionally, they will grow up knowing how to care for their teeth and will learn that good dental care is really pretty easy; once you have a healthy mouth, maintaining it is very straightforward.