The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children see a Pediatric Dentist before their first birthday or when their first teeth come in. Dental problems can begin early and we know children need healthy teeth to speak and chew food!
Other common problems include baby bottle tooth decay. Typically, these occur when babies sleep after drinking from a bottle, or when a bottle is used more than usual. Reasons infants commonly get cavities include breastfeeding after one year, night-time bottle feeding with juice, regularly using a sippy or no-spill cup, and eating sugary snacks or carbs in-between meals.
Start early for your child to enjoy a lifetime of smiles. Please schedule with any pediatric dentist near you.
Many children experience dental anxiety or fear of going to the dentist. With a little planning, you can help your child have a positive first experience. Here are 4 tips:
- Choose a Pediatric Dentist: Pediatric dentists specialize in caring for tiny teeth, just as a Pediatric doctor specializes in children's health. In addition to additional education, our Pediatric dentists are known for building fun, exciting appointments and communicating with children.
- Familiarity: Act out their first appointment together or watch cartoons about going to the dentist. The more familiar they are with what will happen, the better.
- Choose the Right Time: Schedule an appointment on a day or time when your child is usually more relaxed and alert. Scheduling an appointment during their nap time or when they're grumpy tends to be more challenging to manage.
- Stay by Their Side: All parents are welcomed to accompany their children throughout the entire visit and we encourage it.
Here are a couple of additional tips on how you can help build a foundation for your child's health:
Start Before Birth
Regular checkups and healthy dental habits can help prevent conditions from developing or worsening. Although not all mothers experience these, some experience pregnancy gingivitis, an inflammation of your gums caused by hormonal changes. Your gums may become sensitive or bleed, developing into a more severe form of gum disease.
Pregnant moms are also at an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities. Morning sickness can expose your teeth to increased acids, which can eat away at your enamel.
Clean Baby's Gums
When your newborn first flashes that gummy smile, that's a sign that it's time for you to begin their dental health journey. Because newborns don't have oral bacteria, your primary focus at this stage is to prevent their mouths from full colonization. That means not sharing any utensils and avoiding cross-usage.
Aside from preventive measures, parents can also start their kids on their oral hygiene routine by cleaning gums with a soft cloth and water. That way, even if their babies contract oral bacteria, this doesn't mean instant colonization.
First Dental Visit
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The American Dental Association recommends that the first appointment visit takes place after the first tooth appears, or no later than a child’s first birthday. To prepare your child for the appointment, consider scheduling it during a time when they are well-rested and cooperative. Talk with your child in positive tones about the upcoming appointment. If you have any anxiety or concerns yourself, please let your Pediatric Dentist know privately.
During the first few years of your child’s life, all 20 baby teeth will push through the gums, and most children will have their full set of these teeth in place by age three. A baby’s front four teeth usually erupt or push through the gums at about six months of age. As their teeth erupt, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite, or drool more than usual.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Continue helping your child brush their teeth. Children typically don't develop the skills to brush effectively until they are 7 years old or until they can sweep a floor without missing any spots.
Why visit the dentist twice per year when my child has never had a cavity?
Regular dental visits help your child stay cavity-free. Teeth cleanings remove debris that build upon the teeth, irritate the gums and cause decay. Hygiene instructions improve your child’s brushing and flossing, leading to cleaner teeth and healthier gums.