As experts in pediatric dentistry, O.C. Dental Specialists would like to stress that the baby teeth play a very important role in long-term oral health. Not only do they help young children chew food and create speech, each primary tooth forms a bud from which the adult tooth will grow. They also help to preserve and create space for each of the permanent teeth to come in several years later. Frequent brushing and flossing is just as important with the baby teeth as it is for permanent teeth.
When to Start Bringing Your Child to the Dentist
You don’t have to wait until your child is preschool age and has a full set of primary teeth before scheduling his or her first dental appointment. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you make the first appointment when your baby is just 12 months old. Even the very first teeth can succumb to decay without adequate care. After this first visit, you should continue to bring your baby to the dentist once every six months.
Establish Good Oral Healthcare Habits Early at Home
You can begin an oral healthcare routine with your baby long before he or she has any teeth. Each time you feed your infant, take a minute to rub his or her gums with a damp cloth to prevent a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. After the first teeth erupt, brush your child’s teeth with a small toothbrush using only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Starting around age two, guide your child in brushing using the hand-over-hand method. Most children are ready to start brushing on their own before they start school, although they still require supervision. Be sure to set a good example by allowing your child to see you brush your own teeth and limiting sugary drinks and snacks. Please let us know if we can help in any other way.