A Child’s First Dental Visit
A child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around his/her first birthday. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with a doctor and his staff. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. If possible, allow the child to sit in a parent’s lap in the exam room. Children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or anxiety they feel. The dentist will “count” your childs teeth, examine for early complications in development and assess lip/tongue ties.
Why Primary Teeth are Important
Primary teeth are important for several reasons. Foremost, good teeth allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable. Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth.
Good Diet and Healthy Teeth
The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups helps minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Processed sugars, candies and sugary drinks are linked to early childhood caries. These foods should be consumed in moderation or avoided.
Infant Tooth Eruption
A child’s teeth actually start forming before birth. Every child is different but the average primary or “baby” teeth pushes through the gums around 6 months of age—the lower central incisors are first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.
Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth—32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.
Depending on the area you live and the source of water, fluoride may or may not be present in the water. Fluoride in a dosage of 1 ppm has been shown to result in adult teeth much less vulnerable to dental decay. Your dentist will discuss whether fluoride supplementation is necessary for your child during their dental development.