It’s just a baby tooth. Why does it matter? Those are common thoughts many parents have about their children’s teeth. Besides their obvious function of chewing food, baby teeth provide many other benefits. First and foremost, a child’s smile aids in their self-esteem. And few things are cuter than a four year old’s big cheesy grin. Secondly, baby teeth maintain the space necessary for the permanent teeth to grow into. And thirdly, baby teeth help in the development of speech.
So what can parents do to help their child take care of their teeth? Set a good example for your child. Encourage him/her to brush twice daily. Parents need to supervise their kids at least until the age of eight. This is both to make sure the kids is doing a proper job and to make sure they are not swallowing the toothpaste.
It is important to visit the dentist early on, before any symptoms occur. This allows your child to become accustomed to our office, to see how things work and to have a positive experience. As the hygienist cleans and polishes your child’s teeth, they see how fun it can be to be at the dentist. We want your child to associate their visit to the office as a fun time and nothing to be nervous about.
The ADA recommends your child start seeing a dentist around their first birthday or six months after their first tooth erupts. This starts your child off on the right foot. Most first visits are as simple as a ride in the chair and discussing good habits.
Good habits for your child to adopt include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
- Limiting consumption of sugary beverages
- Avoid running around the house with objects in your mouth; if you fall, you could damage your teeth or the tissues your mouth.
- Avoid going to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, especially with one filled with juice
- Eat a variety of healthy foods
- Limit consumption of sticky snacks such as raisins, gummy bears, Sour patch kids. They can be tough to brush away and may lead to cavities.
- Wear a well-fitting mouthguard when playing contact sports
We are always willing to discuss questions you may have about your child’s oral health. We welcome patients of all ages, from 1 to 101! Call us today to schedule an appointment.