Establishing good oral hygiene techniques as early as possible in childhood is a great way to help them build good preventive dental techniques. Our Clarenville dentists explain why.
Why Early Dental Care Is Important
You might not think that taking your infant to the dentist is important and can be left until they have a mouth full of teeth, but the Canadian Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist for an assessment of the signs of a first tooth, or by 12 months of age.
The initial visit can help your child learn to become comfortable with their dentist and establish a trusting relationship. A quick check of their teeth and gums will be done. Subsequent visits should be every six months for child dental care, the same as for adults.
3 Reasons to Bring Your Child to The Dentist Early
- It Can Build Trust - Showing trust in your dentist can teach your child that visits to the dentist are safe and an important step in the prevention and treatment of problems.
- To Check Their Technique - Find out if the teeth cleaning routine at home is working. If spots are being missed, early discovery is key to keeping teeth healthy!
- Proactive Approach To Dental Care - By visiting the dentist every six months, your dentist can be proactive and catch any developing issues early.
It’s important to understand that a child’s primary (“baby”) teeth are at risk of developing early childhood tooth decay as their protective enamel is thinner than that of permanent teeth. Tooth decay can be painful, impacting your child’s overall health. It can also trigger issues with sleeping, speaking or eating, as well as their ability to focus or learn.
Tips to Encourage Good Dental Care for Your Child
- Start brushing their teeth even before the first tooth appears! Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe your baby’s gums twice a day.
- Avoid offering bottles before naps or bedtime. If you can’t avoid it, try using water instead of milk or juice to avoid decay.
- Limit time with a bottle to five minutes or less to help prevent the development of orthodontic issues.
- Take your child for their first dental visit as early as 6 months of age but at least before their first birthday.
- At the first sign of a tooth, brush your child’s teeth daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste until they’re old enough to spit it out (typically around 3 years old).
- Let your child practice brushing by watching what you do, then finish for them so you can ensure that their teeth are actually clean. Your child will need help with brushing until they’re about 8 years old because they have not developed the right dexterity until that point.
- Teach your child to brush for two minutes twice a day.
- Replace toothbrushes every few months or when they begin to show signs of wear, such as flattening or bushy bristles.
- Bring your child for regular dental visits. Every six months is optimal, but this may vary depending on your dentist.