Childhood development is critical in many areas. Just as learning to crawl and walk; eating without being fed; and speaking those first words create excitement … taking care of baby teeth is an important part of infant care and should not be ignored or taken for granted. Your baby’s first trip to the dentist should be completed around twelve months of age.
Research indicates these early dental visits accomplish many things:
Exam – This first visit allows the dentist to perform a quick exam to make sure the child’s dentition is on track, and there are no oral conditions present that jeopardize their health.
This exam also serves as an introduction for your child to start getting acclimated to the dental office experience. Subsequent visits will reaffirm the normalcy of visiting the dentist as they age.
Educational – This initial visit is a perfect opportunity to learn how to care for your child’s teeth. You can ask questions about brushing, flossing, and overall oral care for your child.
New parents may not be aware of the things they may be doing that could be detrimental to their child’s teeth. Putting baby to bed for a nap or the night with a bottle containing anything but water can lead to premature dental decay. Sugars from milk or juice can linger in their mouth throughout the night leading to plaque build-up. Just like with adults, this plaque build-up can promote dental decay.
Prevention – Can you just imagine the fear and discomfort your toddler would experience if a dental filling was needed due to a cavity?
Many parents believe that since baby teeth are going to fall out eventually, this is not a big concern. However, the primary teeth are paving the way for the permanent teeth. Decayed or prematurely lost teeth can impact the condition of permanent teeth.
As your infants first teeth emerge, you can wipe them with a soft cloth following a bottle or feeding. Massaging gum tissue is helpful, and normally feels very good when your child is teething. As your baby ages, brush their teeth with an age appropriate tooth paste and soft bristle brush. Allow your child to watch you brush and floss as experience is the best teacher.
Preventive action will be rewarding for you and your child by limiting the need for decay correction.