How to Care for Your Child’s Smile
As a parent, there’s no better feeling than seeing your little one flash you a big grin. While the underlying reason behind that smile — a proud moment riding their bicycle without the training wheels or a trip to the toy store — is definitely something to care about, you should also care about the small teeth that sit front and center of that smile.
Even though kids don’t usually get excited about dental care, there are several steps you, as a parent, should take to prioritize their oral health and care for their smiles as they grow.
The sooner you begin caring for your child’s smile, the better chances they have of maintaining good oral health as they get older.
When Should You Schedule Your Child's First Dental Exam?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) advises that your child should see a dentist as soon as their first tooth appears; typically at six to twelve months old.
This is important so your dentist can make sure their teeth are growing in properly and that there are no jaw-related issues brewing.
Brush Their Gums
While it may seem strange to brush your baby’s gums without them having fully-grown teeth, this task is more so done to get them used to the feeling of a brush in their mouths as early as possible. Once your child’s first tooth appears, use a clean washcloth or toothbrush meant for babies to gently rub their gums and adjust them to the feeling.
Choose the Right Dentist
Although you may have a dentist who cares for your smile, it’s important to take your child to a pediatric dentist who has the additional training and experience caring for smaller smiles and also knows how to help your child feel at ease. Especially when they first begin visiting the dentist, your child may be scared or anxious if they aren’t aware of what is happening. A good pediatric dentist will explain the cleaning and exam procedure so your little one feels more at ease and comfortable during their appointment.
Here are some tips for choosing the right dentist:
- Friendly Personality - A dentist who has a friendly personality can be beneficial, especially if your child suffers from dental anxiety.
- Convenient Office Location - Having a dentist close by will be very beneficial to your busy schedule.
- Affordable - It’s important to find a dentist who will provide quality care at a reasonable price.
- Continuity of Care - being able to see the same dentist every time you visit is essential to your child's dental health and will make sure that they are receiving consistent care.
- Open Communication - It’s never a good idea to allow a dentist to perform a procedure on your child before having a conversation about why the procedure is recommended and/or necessary.
Keep Up with Dental Appointments
We know that life can get hectic and things can fall by the wayside in your mind, but don’t let dental care appointments be one of them. Your child should be visiting their dentist at least twice a year so they can make sure that your child’s teeth are coming in properly, their gums are healthy, and there are no improper jaw developments.
By keeping up with these routine visits, your dentist will be able to spot any potential problems and work to resolve them before they become more serious.
Establish a Good Oral Care Routine at Home
Even if you’re keeping up with dental visits, you need to maintain a good oral care routine with your child at home. This means brushing for two minutes at least twice a day, as well as flossing at least once a day, and not forgetting about using an oral rinse to keep their teeth free of bacteria and plaque.
We understand that getting your kids excited to brush and floss isn’t always an easy task, so consider following these tips to help:
Let them choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste.
Brush as a family every morning and night when possible.
Give them small rewards, such as stickers or a choice of movie, when they brush properly.
Watch Their Diets
Everyone knows that the food you eat can affect the rest of your body and overall health, but it can also affect your teeth and gums as well. Foods and drinks that are high in sugar or starch can allow plaque to build up on your child’s teeth and lead to cavities and tooth decay if left untreated.
Try to limit food and drinks like candy, soda, and sports drinks, and aim to fill their diets with foods that can improve oral health such as dark, leafy greens, fish, and water.
Pediatric Dentistry in Spring Hill
Dentistry By Design offers full, comprehensive pediatric dentistry services in Spring Hill. As a practice, it is our mission to create a warm, friendly, and welcoming environment for our youngest patients. We help children develop healthy smiles for life!
Contact our Spring Hill pediatric dentist today at (931) 771-8500.