When my daughter was little I remember trying to make sure that I did everything I could to be the best mom possible and collected as much information as I could to ensure the best care for her. One topic I had a hard time getting good information about was the Importance of Oral Care for Children.
That is why I find this topic so important and I am happy to share this information from the Academy of General Dentistry. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
It’s important to bring your child to the dentist early on in life because general dentists may be the first line of defense against a range of maladies, since the first signs of many illnesses are often revealed in the mouth.
There are many health issues that can be avoided by taking the proper steps in making sure your child understands the importance of good oral health. Teaching them to take proper care of themselves is an important step in creating lifelong healthy oral health habits.
It is also important to remember that babies require oral health maintenance long before they have a full set of teeth. This can be a confusing topic and it is best to get informed on the importance of good oral health in children of all ages.
A visit to your general dentist can also help get questions answered – like when a child’s first tooth should come in, food and drink that may not be good for their teeth, how often to brush their teeth and what kind of toothpaste to use, etc.
Findings from a recent survey from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) which shows a majority of parents aren’t often aware of the connection between oral/overall health:
- Dental visits are more than teeth cleanings: though few adults (only 14%) regard dentists as experts in making broader connections to improving or maintaining systemic health, many systemic diseases have oral manifestations.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Larry Williams of The Academy of General Dentistry and Midwestern University
When should you first take your child to the dentist?
- According to leading experts, the first visit should be when the first tooth erupts or at the first birthday.
When should parents expect their child’s first tooth to come in?
- Based on nature’s timetable, teeth can erupt at 3 months or later. If no teeth are erupted by the one-year mark, thedental visit will begin the relationship between the parent, the infant, and the dental team.
What can a parent expect during the first visit for their baby/toddler?
- Often a first visit is simply a time to acquaint your child with the dentist and the practice. As a parent, you should reassure your child that the visit is not scary or something about which to be afraid. Short, successive visits can build the child’s comfort with the dentist and the dental office. Schedule the appointment earlier in the day, when your child is alert and refreshed. You may need to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the first examination. The first visit usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and may include any of the following, depending on the child’s age:
- A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas
- A gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar build-up, and stains
- A demonstration on how to properly care for your child’s mouth and teeth at home
- Nutritional counseling
- An assessment of the need for fluoride
How do you instill good teeth brushing habits at home?
- The best way to instill habits is by starting your baby’s oral care regimen at a young age:
- Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth twice a day. Ask your dentist when you may begin to rub a tiny dab of toothpaste on your child’s gums. Doing so will help your child become accustomed to the flavor of toothpaste.
- As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste.
- Let your child begin brushing their own teeth around the age of 5 with proper instruction and supervision.
What promotes tooth decay in babies and toddlers?
- Just say “no” to bottles in bed. Never put your baby to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk, formula, fruit juice, or other sweet liquid. The sugar in these beverages can cause cavities in your baby’s bottle before bedtime. If you must give your baby a bottle when he or she is going to sleep, fill the bottle with water instead.
Following these tips and realizing the importance of good oral health in children is a great way to set the groundwork for your children to have lifelong healthy oral care habits.