Dental professionals agree that a child’s first check-up should happen within their first year, when the first tooth erupts. This milestone is usually a trying time for parents as it’s no secret that kids hate the dentist and, as luck has it, teething is a nightmare on its own.
With a little bit of mental and emotional preparation, you can ease a fair amount of the stress caused by baby’s first dental visit and enjoy a pleasant trip to the dentist with your baby!
What to expect:
During the first visit, dentists typically examine the erupting teeth and try to determine whether there will be any issues. The dentist will make a note of what to monitor and advise you on how often your little one should be visiting. They will also advise you on medications and methods to ease the pain and discomfort of teething and give you some advice on feeding and nutrition so that the milk teeth grow strong and healthy.
These feeding tips are extremely important. The milk teeth do fall out later in life, but their cavities and structural issues cause a lot of pain and can have an impact on the development of the permanent teeth – especially if teeth are lost.
Your dentist can also guide you on which foods are safe for your baby to consume, and which oral hygiene habits you should employ. Children are susceptible to cavities and decay at this age, so it is important that you adequately clean your child’s teeth in between feedings to avoid Early Childhood Caries – which is what they call any missing, decayed or filled teeth in children under 6 years old. If any of these are present in children under 3 years old, it is categorised as Severe.
Milk and formula are culprits in these cases – they tend to pool in the mouth for long periods of time. Bacteria in the mouth feeds on the sugar in the milk and produces acid, which will erode the tooth structure.
If you are unsure of how to clean your child’s teeth or what you should be doing to ensure their oral health, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment. You can also use the “Find Doctor/Dentist” page of this website to locate a dentist in your preferred area. In the meantime, you can refer to these 7 tips on avoiding early tooth decay in children:
- Give your child water after each feed.
- Wipe your child’s teeth with wet cotton after each feed.
- Avoid night-time feeding.
- Adopt a healthy balanced diet for your child and limit starchy, sugary snacks and sugary drinks.
- Schedule regular dental check-ups every six months.
- Teach your child to start drinking from a cup as early as possible, preferably before they turn one year of age. By drinking from a cup, the liquid is less likely to pool around the front teeth.
- When your child is old enough, brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day – brushing before bed is especially important.
With all the sugary substances on the market, more and more children are developing cavities in their teeth from an early age, cavities that can lead to difficulties later in life and can be avoided with proper oral hygiene habits and the help of a dentist.
The teeth are important structures, it is never too early to care for them. The earlier you start, the healthier they’ll stay.
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