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Parents have enough to worry about without fretting over when to start dental appointments for their kids. To help parents in Charlotte, NC, and elsewhere, we at Langley Dental Care offer this guide for parents. You can finally answer when should kids start going to the dentist and other dental concerns you have for your little ones.
Myths About When Should Kids Start Going to the Dentist
Several myths about kids and dentists abound. Don’t get fooled by these rumors:
Kids Don’t Need Dental Care
One of the biggest myths concerning pediatric dentistry is that kids never need to go to the dentist because they’ll lose their baby teeth anyway. In fact, this is far from the truth. Regular dental visits starting early can help your child to avoid the fear of the dentist. Plus, the dentist can spot any problems with your child’s mouth, teeth, or gums that need early correction.
For instance, cavities in baby teeth can cause your child pain or infections. Plus, decay in the first set of teeth increases your child’s chances of problems with their adult teeth.
Babies Can’t Get Cavities Since They Don’t Eat Solid Foods
Babies can experience tooth decay from milk, juice, or formula. Chewing does not matter in whether bacteria can flourish in the mouth. Instead, the presence of food particles of any type, including milk or formula, can lead to decay.
When your child has a bottle with any type of beverage with natural or added sugars, including milk and juice, having access to the bottle for a long time or just before sleep meaning you cannot brush off the sugar from their teeth. This increases the chances of baby bottle tooth decay.
Kids Can’t Brush Their Teeth or Floss
While infants will need you to brush their teeth, you can teach your toddler to start a good oral care routine. Toothbrushes and great-tasting toothpaste designed specifically for kids can help make learning to brush their teeth fun and enjoyable. By teaching them from a young age to get into the habit of caring for their teeth, they will be more likely to grow up with good dental health.
Kids Don’t Need to Go to the Dentist Unless They Have a Problem
Just like adults, kids need to visit the dentist regularly. Twice yearly visits for cleanings and exams give the dentist a chance to spot developing problems before your child experiences pain from a cavity or tooth infection.
Plus, when you take your child to the dentist regularly, they don’t have to fear the visit because they know it happens regularly. Plus, since they know that the cleaning and checkup don’t cause pain, they know there is nothing to fear from the experience. Your child will have a better chance of growing up into an adult that doesn’t fear the dentist.
So, When Should Kids Start Going to the Dentist?
You should start taking your child to the dentist once their first tooth appears, or by their first birthday, whichever happens first. This first visit allows the dentist to examine the child’s mouth and educate you on caring for your child’s incoming teeth. Usually, very young children won’t have dental x-rays, except in special cases.
Tips for Taking Your Child to Their First Dentist Appointment
When taking your child to their first dental appointment, tell the dentist about your child’s age to prepare them. Plus, ask any questions about how the dentist handles young children during the exam to allay your fears.
Find an early morning appointment soon after your child wakes up. At this time of day, most children are well-rested from the night and less likely to be fussy and tired, making them more cooperative.
Lastly, never use a trip to the dentist as a bargaining tool. Do not threaten a child with a dental visit for poor behavior or failing to brush their teeth. Similarly, do not try to bribe your child into going, either. Remain positive about the trip, though, and help your child to look forward to the visit.
Caring for Your Child’s Baby Teeth at Home
While your child’s dentist can help you learn about caring for your child’s teeth, you still need to know what to do if you don’t remember everything the dentist told you.
Care for your child’s teeth happens even before their first tooth comes in. Use a dampened cloth to rub down their gums after feedings.
Before age three, but after the first tooth appears, brush your child’s teeth with the smallest amount of non-fluorinated toothpaste possible. Use no more than an amount the size of a rice grain. Gently brush each tooth with this toothpaste.
Once your child reaches the age and ability to spit out toothpaste, usually around age three, switch to a pea-sized drop of fluoride-containing toothpaste. Assist your toddler with brushing and make sure they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
As your child grows up, they can start to take more control in their dental hygiene routine. By age seven, most children should be able to brush their teeth without your help. However, every child develops differently, and some may need more time to do this.
Continue to have twice-annual visits to the dentist as they continue to grow. The visits are crucial early on for developing good habits but become even more important as your child’s adult teeth replace their baby teeth.
Start Your Child’s Dental Care Correctly with a Visit to Us at Langley Dental Care in Charlotte, NC
Whether your child is a few months old or several years, you are never too late in getting them into the habit of regular dental visits. Contact us at Langley Dental Care to set up an appointment or to get answers to any additional questions you may have. We proudly serve the Charlotte, NC, area and offer a full range of preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dental services for the whole family. Come see us soon.