Do you remember your first trip to the dentist? According to experts, parents should take their children to the dentist for the first time within six months of the arrival of the child’s first tooth. While taking your child for his first visit to the dentist while he is still in diapers sounds quite young, it is important to establish good dental health practices early in life.
What should you expect on your child’s first visit? Your child’s first visit to the dentist will mostly be about education. The dentist will help your child get used to the dentist chair, and talk to parents about the proper way to how to care for your child’s teeth. Topics of discussion will include brushing your child’s teeth, frequency, whether she has transitioned from a bottle to a sippy cup, snacks in the middle of the night, flossing, and frequency of future dentist visits.
Once your child has been to the dentist for the first time and there are no obvious dental issues, you may return for your second visit by the time your child is around two years old. After that, you should visit every six months for a check-up. When your child is between the ages of four and six, you may expect your dentist to perform the first set of X-rays to check for cavities.
Some important tips for parents to remember: Fluoride. Fluoride helps develop healthy teeth and prevents tooth decay, which is a common childhood dental disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25 percent of two- to five-year-old children have one or more cavities. Fluoride can help prevent dental carries by stopping the acid produced by bacteria (otherwise known as “plaque”) from eroding the tooth enamel. To prevent early tooth decay and other dental maladies, make sure your child’s toothpaste and water are fluoridated.
For questions and more information about the benefits of fluoride on your family’s dental health, contact Dr. Kathy Bui.
Brush teeth at least twice a day. The best times to brush your child’s teeth are in the morning after breakfast and just before bedtime. Make sure to brush thoroughly – many people make the mistake of not brushing long enough. To make sure you are brushing long enough, pick a nursery rhyme or song to sing to your child while you brush her teeth. It may make the experience more enjoyable for both of you!
Flossing. “It’s never too early to start flossing your child’s teeth,” says Dr. Kathy Bui. Flossing removes food and plaque from teeth, preventing harmful bacteria from damaging the tooth’s enamel and gums. Don’t forget to be gentle! Forcing the floss between teeth can lead to bleeding, which can make children think that flossing hurts, creating a negative association with the experience.
For more tips on how to care for your child’s teeth, contact Dr. Bui.