Have you been hesitant about taking your child to the dentist? Perhaps you feel they are too young, or maybe you want to protect them from what you think they will perceive is a frightening experience. We know that parents want the best for their children, which is why Drs. Fay, Redden, and Bayley go out of their way to provide the best possible oral health care for your child. Our team loves working with children and it shows in our warm, welcoming attitude to you and your children. At New Concept Dental in Wilmington, DE, we know that children are not actually afraid of the dentist, but of the unknown. By using age-appropriate language to explain dental procedures, and exercising patience and understanding, we instill trust in the families we serve.
What Is the Best Time to Schedule My Child’s First Appointment?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that children visit the dentist by their first birthday. This may seem like a very early age to visit the dentist, especially if a child only has a tooth or two. However, when the first teeth erupt, this is the best time to introduce your child to the dentist. We believe that the sooner you introduce dental care into your child’s life, the more likely your child will develop good oral healthcare habits and not fear going to the dentist.
What You Need to Know about Your Baby’s First Teeth
Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, begin to develop and erupt through the gums between six and 12 months. Parents usually have a mixture of excitement and concern when these first teeth emerge. It’s exciting because your baby is hitting major milestones, but concerning because this can be a painful time for your child. Parents can help their children ease the pain by rubbing a clean finger over the gums, applying a cold washcloth, or using the tried and true teething ring.
Fun tooth fact: Did you know that after all of your baby’s teeth have emerged, they will have 20 pearly, little whites in their mouth? It’s absolutely amazing how quick that happens!
Throughout childhood, your child will lose their primary teeth. This happens at different rates for all children, but in most cases, you can anticipate your child’s first permanent tooth to emerge around age six. His or her permanent teeth will continue to emerge at a steady rate into early adulthood. When the last permanent teeth erupt, a person will have 28 teeth in their mouth. This does not include wisdom teeth.
How You Can Help Your Child Develop Healthy Oral Habits
Once your child’s teeth begin to develop and erupt, you’ll want to visually examine these tiny teeth at least once every couple of weeks. When performing these inspections, you’ll want to pay attention to stains, cracks, or lines in the teeth. These are indicators of tooth decay, which young teeth are quite susceptible to. You can protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay by limiting liquids and food with high sugar content. Of course, limiting sugary foods is just one way to combat decay. It is also important to make sure to brush your baby’s tiny teeth regularly.
At New Concept Dental, we recommend that parents of babies follow a brushing schedule that is a little different than what you may be used to. Instead of brushing twice a day, we suggest that you brush your baby’s teeth four times a day, after each meal and right before he or she goes to bed. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush because you want to protect the delicate surface of their teeth. As far as toothpaste is concerned, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that does not have fluoride in it.
As your child develops into a toddler, you can begin to let him or her brush his or her own teeth. Toddlers like the feeling of independence this gives them and it helps them develop oral health habits. As your child grows into a preschooler, and eventually a grade-schooler, let them take control of their brushing routine; but, every once and a while, remind them of proper tooth brushing techniques.
Don’t forget about flossing. We can help you determine the best time to introduce this oral health habit into their daily hygiene schedule.
Prevent Tooth Decay with Current Checkups
When sugar breaks down it turns into acid. This acid is what causes tooth decay and leads to cavities. Children tend to experience a higher rate of tooth decay because they don’t always practice the best oral hygiene. Parents who encourage their children to brush regularly and follow through with six month checkups can help their children avoid a mouthful of cavities.
At New Concept Dental, in addition to regular checkups, we also endorse fluoride treatments once a year and the application of sealants. Sealants go a long way in preventing cavities and tooth deterioration because it covers the deep grooves in teeth that can be hard to clean. Sealants last for many years and are often covered by most insurance plans for pediatric dental patients.