When Should Dental Care Start?
Proper dental care should start before a baby’s teeth are visible. At birth a child has 20 primary teeth which can be fully developed in the jaw, so just because cannot be seen doesn’t mean they aren’t there!
Having a new born baby can be overwhelming so parents often put their infant to sleep with a bottle as a quick fix, but this act can take a toll on the child’s teeth. The sugars from juice or milk erode the enamel if left on the baby’s teeth for hours and can lead to the condition known as bottle mouth. Front teeth which are discolored, pitted or pocketed are marks of bottle mouth and cavities can form as a result.
To clear away harmful bacteria before teeth are visible, run a damp washcloth over your baby’s gums on a daily basis. As teeth begin to develop and breach the gum line parents can brush kids’ teeth using an infant toothbrush with just a smear of toothpaste until age 2. At this point children as young as age 2 or 3 can begin to use toothpaste when brushing. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste for toddlers is just right under parental supervision to make sure they do not swallow it.
A child should be prepared for their first dental visit by their first birthday, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). At the visit your dentist will conduct a modified exam then proceed to explain proper brushing and flossing techniques. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! These visits not only help the child transition into visiting the dentist but are effective in preventing extensive dental work.
If a child is at risk for developing cavities the dentist may apply topical fluoride even before all of the teeth come in. This is because fluoride hardens the tooth enamel softened by acid deposited on teeth from left behind food and bacteria. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel and makes it more difficult for acid to penetrate the surface of the tooth.
As kids grow and mature, dental checkups can range anywhere from once every 3 months to once a year depending on your dentist’s recommendations. Your partnership with the dentist will help ensure a beautiful smile and healthy teeth for your child.
To schedule your child’s dentist appointment call us today at (303) 659-1064!