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Children’s Dentistry
May 30, 2023

Image via Pixabay by Barbora Franzova

Why Are Baby Teeth So Important?

When baby’s first tooth pops through, it’s kind of a big deal. We share the news with friends and family, and give a big sigh of relief that the first bout of teething is finally over. But when do we start taking baby to the dentist for check-ups, and how are we supposed to care for these first teeth? Why didn’t this kid come with a manual?

Birth to Age 2

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the number one chronic infectious disease amongst children in the U.S. It can begin as early as age one and can set the stage for a lifetime of oral health issues. It’s important to begin preventive care even before that first tooth pops through in order to establish healthy habits that will carry over into adulthood.

  • Long before that first tooth emerges, start a routine of cleaning baby’s gums with a soft cloth or soft bristle toothbrush designed for infants at bath time.
  •  If baby goes to sleep with a bottle, make sure it only contains water. Milk and juices contain sugars that can cause early tooth decay. 
  • If your baby takes a pacifier, never dip it in anything sweet. 
  • It is recommended that babies have their first dental visit by age one. 
  • Talk to your dentist about when to start using toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Ages 2-5

As more teeth emerge, it’s important to continue daily oral care:

  • Parents should continue to brush their child’s teeth twice a day. Bedtime brushing is especially important.
  • Visit your dentist every six months.
  • Discourage thumbsucking and pacifiers by age three.
  • Limit snacks to three times a day.
  • When teeth are close enough to touch, parents should begin flossing.
  • Limit juices.
  • Ask your dentist about using fluoride.

School Aged Children

  • Supervise your child’s brushing until they are seven or eight years old.
  • Ask your dentist about flossing.
  • Allow gum with Xylitol.
  • Provide a mouthguard for physical activities.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages.

Keep It Positive

Avoid unnecessary fear and trauma by making routine dental visits a positive experience. Don’t wait until your child is in pain to make your first visit to the dentist. Choose a dental office that has a pediatric dental specialist on staff and use those early visits to establish trust and rapport between your child and their dentist. The Dental Care Center Kids (TDCC Kids) has pediatric dental specialists and highly trained hygienists who can provide a fun and comfortable setting for your child. Contact our TDCC Kids office today to get your child started on the path to a lifetime of good oral health.