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When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?

There are a lot of firsts in your child’s life. The first step, first word, and the first tooth. It’s hard to know everything you need to do to keep them healthy and happy but of course, you try your best. One thing parents worry about is their teeth. When should you start brushing them? When should they see the dentist? Those are excellent questions and it’s different for all children.

It’s normal to worry about your children’s teeth and make sure they learn good dental hygiene. If you do what the American Dental Association and then your dentist tell you to, you’ll be able to make sure your children’s teeth stay healthy and pain-free. You child’s dental care will start with the doctor. Usually, once your child has several teeth the pediatrician will put fluoride on their teeth to help make them strong.

What Age do They get Most of Their Teeth?

The first teeth come in around six to ten months of age. The primary teeth are all in by the time the child reaches three years old. Keeping your babies’ teeth healthy is important to combat harmful bacteria that can cause damage to the teeth even before they’ve all started coming in. You will want to clean the gums with a washrag after the child eats just with water. Around the time your child finally gets all their teeth, they’ll start losing them and replacing them with permanent teeth.

Once the teeth start coming in you can use a small toothbrush to get into the routine of brushing twice a day. There is a lot of practice toothpaste you can use and you don’t need to use real toothpaste until they are closer to two years old. Then you just need to use a very small amount, because they don’t know how not to swallow it yet.

What Age Should They Go?

You don’t have to wait until all your child’s teeth come in to take them to the dentist. It’s great to start getting them used to it as soon as you can. The American Dental Association recommends a child go before they turn two. You can take them in for their first visit as soon as they start getting teeth to have the dentist reassure you they are growing in correctly.

Why Dental Hygiene is Important

Baby teeth help guide where permanent teeth are going to be so it’s important to keep them healthy. There are many reasons to make sure you take care of your child’s teeth. Preventing them from getting sick is a good one. If teeth are healthy they help keep germs out of the rest of the body. It’s also a great way to save money for you. If your child needs a lot of fillings and other types of dental work it can get very expensive. If your child has gum disease from poor brushing and lots of sugar teeth can come in improperly and be crooked.

Trying to wipe your child’s mouth out after nursing them or giving them a bottle for the last time is the best way to protect their teeth. You’ll need to do this because if milk sits on them all night or bacteria starts to grow it will be worse while they are sleeping at night. If you notice any discoloration in your child’s teeth even before the recommended time to take them to the dentist then call and make an appointment. Baby teeth aren’t as strong so a little decay can spread quickly. You don’t want to deal with a small child having to get a filling if you can help it.

How to Get Them Ready

Let your son or daughter visit the dentist once or twice before you go for a full visit. It’s best to go to a dentist that specializes in family dentistry. They are used to dealing with small children and trying to make sure they put their minds at ease. The first visit will consist of an examination once the child feels comfortable with the office. It might be a good idea to plan something fun for them to do after they go to the dentist so they have a good experience to associate with it afterward.

How to Get Your Toddler to Brush Their Teeth

Getting your toddler to brush their teeth is not always easy. There are lots of things to try to make the process easier, but you might still find yourself holding them down and doing it. You can make it a game where the two of you do it together and add a little song to it. You can find videos of their favorite characters brushing their teeth and books that try to drum up some excitement about brushing their teeth. Letting them help you do it by giving them a mirror will sometimes work. Kids mimic their parents a lot so many times they will just follow your lead and do the same as you.

Let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste in their favorite color or with their favorite character on it so they enjoy using it. At this point, they are pretty independent when it comes to doing things like this and will want to do it themselves. When they get a little older you can let them brush their teeth on their own at first and then go through behind them and get every tooth. They can work the toothbrush, but they aren’t going to get every tooth. By the time they are six, you should be able to supervise them brushing on their own. Don’t let them do it without your supervision and time them to do it for at least two minutes.

Once they reach three years of age then they’ll be seeing the dentist regularly. They may take x-rays when your child reaches five years old. Getting into a routine of going to the dentist can help set your child in motion to maintain good dental hygiene and stay healthy their whole lives.

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Posted in: Pediatric Dentistry

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