Have you been putting off scheduling your child’s first visit to the dentist? We know that you want the best for your child and may be avoiding this first dental appointment because you are afraid of how your child will react.
Children are not naturally afraid of the dentist, but they do fear what they don’t know. This is why at Progressive Dental Arts in Newark, DE, we go above and beyond to make sure when you walk through our front door that you and your child feel safe, welcomed, and at completely at ease. We use kid-friendly language and take our time answering any questions you or your child may have. Our number one goal is to instill trust in the children and families we serve.
When Should I Schedule My Child’s First Appointment?
Drs. Wu, Redden, Eum. Liu, and Bayley each follow the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). The AAPD recommends that all children visit the dentist by their first birthday. For many parents this seems like such an early age, but teeth that erupt prior to the first birthday benefit from early and proper dental care. We feel the sooner you introduce oral hygiene into your child’s life, the more likely they will develop good oral habits.
What You Need to Know about Your Child’s First Teeth
Baby teeth start to form and erupt between the ages of six and 12 months. While this can be an exciting time for you, it can be quite painful for your baby. As these new teeth erupt, you baby’s gums may be tender to the touch and sore. You can ease your baby’s pain by rubbing his or her gums with a clean finger, applying a wet, cool cloth against their gums, or using a teething ring.
Mind-boggling fact: After all of your child’s baby teeth have erupted, they will have 20 teeth in their tiny mouth.
Baby teeth fall out at different times throughout childhood. In most circumstances, you can expect the first permanent tooth to arrive by the age of six. These permanent teeth will continue to erupt well into early adulthood. By the time your child reaches the age of 21, they will have at minimum 28 teeth. When you factor in wisdom teeth, this number increases to 32.
You Can Help Your Child Develop Healthy Oral Habits
After your child’s teeth begin to emerge, it is critical that you examine these teeth every couple of weeks for signs of tooth decay. While performing your visual inspection, pay close attention for lines or discoloration. During this time, it is important to refrain from serving your children large quantities of sugary treats and liquids that have very little nutritional value.
Since new teeth are prone to decay, make sure after your children eat and drink, no matter what type of food it is, that they brush their teeth. At Progressive Dental Arts, we recommend a brushing schedule that is a little different than what we recommend for adults. For our youngest patients, we recommend they brush their teeth four times a day, after three meals and before bedtime, for optimal oral health. When brushing your child’s teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect the surface of the teeth. Do not use fluoride toothpaste until they reach the age of two, and always only use a pea-sized amount of the paste.
As your child grows, you can begin to let them brush their own teeth under your careful supervision. Toddlers love this feeling of independence. As your toddler grows, he or she may want to brush without your supervision. This is fine, but remember to go over proper tooth brushing procedures once in a while to make sure your child is brushing his or her teeth the proper way.
And, don’t forget about flossing. The appropriate time to start flossing will be determined by your dentist. During your next appointment, ask us if it is time to include flossing into your child’s oral health routine.
Stay Current with Checkups to Prevent Tooth Decay
Tooth decay happens when sugars turn into acid in the mouth. When this acid forms, it gathers on the tooth’s surface causing the formation of plague that can lead to cavities. Children experience tooth decay at a higher rate that our adult patients because – to put it simply – they don’t always make oral hygiene a priority. You can change this by encouraging your child to brush regularly and schedule six month checkups with your dentist.
At Progressive Dental Arts, not only do we recommend bi-annual cleanings and checkups, but we also recommend fluoride treatments once a year and sealants. Sealants are a dental product that reduces the risk of tooth deterioration by masking the deep grooves of the back teeth that can be hard to reach with normal brushing. Sealants last for several years and are often covered by insurance plans.
Don’t wait any longer to have your children’s teeth examined. Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our child-friendly dentists.