The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advocates a visit to the dentist by the time a child is one year of age. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. The visit will establish a dental home for your child, and the early examination and review of a preventive program will help protect your child’s smile now and in the future.
As soon as the first tooth erupts, you should begin brushing, or cleaning the teeth with a soft cloth, twice a day. The best times to brush are after breakfast in the morning and at bed time, after the last food has been eaten. Use fluoridated toothpaste and an age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste (about a third the size of a pea) on children between 6 months and two years. Then, use a pea-sized amount on children from 2 to five years. Start flossing when any of the teeth touch each other. Dental problems can begin early. One of the biggest concerns is Early Childhood Caries (cavities), which was formerly known as “baby bottle decay” or “nursing caries.” After the eruption of any teeth, putting the child to bed with anything other than a bottle of water can put the teeth at risk of tooth decay. The earlier the first dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew their food easily and smile more frequently. An early visit will start your child off on a lifetime of good oral health habits.
To reduce the chances of a young child developing Early Childhood Caries parents should:
- Avoid at-will breast feeding after the eruption of the first tooth.
- Not put their child to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water.
- Wean their child off of the day-time bottle as soon as possible. This is usually between 12 and 14 months.
- Encourage children to drink milk or juice from a cup. This reduces the amount of time carbohydrate remains in the mouth. Even Sippy cups can be harmful in this respect. · Try to transition the child from bottle – to Sippy cup – to a regular cup as at young an age as possible.
- Limit the consumption of juice to meals and snack time. There is a direct relationship between the number of times a day a child eats and the risk of dental decay.
Remember, we are always happy to provide initial dental examinations for new patients, under two years of age, free of charge. A pediatric dentist will examine your child’s tooth and help develop a preventive program to reduce the chances of developing dental problems. For further information on dental health of your child, about our doctors, staff and facility please visit our web site at www.nppda.com
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