Children Friendly Dentists
To give your child a healthy start in life, it's important to take care of his or her teeth and gums. Dental health is a big part of total health. If a child gets dental disease that is not treated, he or she can suffer serious health problems. You can protect your child from dental disease with daily cleanings, regular dental visits and good nutrition. Children learn health habits from their parents and caregivers. Tooth decay can occur as soon as your child's first tooth erupts. Parents may wonder why they should worry about decay in baby teeth, since they will be replaced by permanent teeth. The problem is that decay in the primary teeth could mean a higher risk of decay in the permanent teeth. And if decay is severe, it can harm the child's overall health.
Meet the Dentist
Protect your child's teeth by starting dental checkups early. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry say that the first dental visit should occur within six months after the baby's first tooth appears, but no later than the child's first birthday. It's best to meet the dentist when your child is having no dental problems-don't wait until the emergency comes up. During the first visit, your child's dentist can do several things, such as:
- Learn your child's health history
- Give a complete oral exam to check growth and development, oral hygiene, injuries, cavities or other problems
- Tell you if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay
- Clean the teeth and provide tips for daily care
- FInd out whether your child is getting enough fluoride to prevent cavities
- Review feeding practices that may lead to tooth decay
- Discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger / thumb sucking habits
- Talk with you about common dental injuries and what to do if one happens
- Discuss treatment if needed and schedule the next check-up
Many infants and young children like to suck on thumbs, fingers and pacifiers. Sucking is a natural reflex that may make them feel safe, happy and relaxed. However, in some cases a child's sucking habits can cause problems with tooth alignment and the proper growth of the mouth. Sucking habits usually stop between the ages of two and four. If your child uses a pacifier or sucks his or her fingers, talk to your dentist about how to wean your child of this habit. Pacifiers should not be used after age two, and finger or thumb sucking should end by age four. Teaching children the importance of good oral care early is a great way to set healthy habits for life. Dental disease is almost entirely preventable, and untreated dental disease can lead to serious health problems. Keep your child healthy by brushing his or her teeth twice a day, flossing once a day and by visiting the dentist regularly.