First visit by first birthday. That’s what the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists and the American Dental Association recommend in order to set the stage for a lifetime of good oral health for your child. After all, to establish lifelong oral health, prevention is key.
See the Dentist When the First Tooth Appears
It is recommended that you take your child to the dentist for the first time when the first tooth erupts, which is typically when he or she is between 6 months to one year. It this seems a little soon, it isn’t. In fact, once a tooth begins to erupt, decay can start to develop.
Take Steps to Prevent Tooth Decay
You can combat tooth decay even before the first tooth appears. After each feeding or twice a day, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, wet washcloth or gauze, which will help remove plaque and food that can damage erupting teeth.
Introduce Your Baby to Toothpaste
Talk with your dentist about giving your child a very small taste of toothpaste. This can help your child get used to the flavor of toothpaste and prepare them for the teeth brushing process. When the first teeth do come in, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and brush them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush.
Discourage Thumb Sucking
If your child sucks his thumb, it will likely stop by age two. However, if it continues it can create crooked teeth, bite problems and upper jaw problems. Thumb sucking is a coping mechanism for children. Work with your child to help decrease his dependency on thumb sucking before the coping skill turns into a habit.
Let Your Child Go It Alone
With your supervision and instruction, your child can begin to brush on their own with as they get older. This can be done as early as age two or three. Try to give the teeth a good once-over after your child has brushed in order to make sure all areas have been covered.
To learn more about best practices for your child’s oral health, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you. To schedule an appointment, please contact Scott T. LeSueur, DDS & Charles A Dodaro, DDS online or by calling our Mesa office at (480) 834-6991 today. We serve Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and all surrounding Arizona communities.