When should a child first visit the dentist?
Unless there is a problem or complain from the child, the first dental visit should be between age 1-2. It is an important visit where parents learn the appropriate way of maintaining a child's oral health.
What is the appropriate way of maintaining good oral hygiene for a child?
1. As a parent, be a role model by practicing good oral hygiene.
2. When teeth first erupt clean them with soft cloth while the child is in your lap.
3. Brush and floss the teeth twice a day until the child is old enough to do it the proper way.
4. Feed your child a balanced diet and avoid sticky candy.
5. Ask your dentist about fluoride and dental sealants.
6. If your child is active in contact sports, ask your dentist about a protective mouth guard.
7. Make sure your child has regular dental check ups twice a year.
Baby teeth will be lost, Why should they be fixed?
The baby (primary) teeth provide a foundation and guidance for the permanent teeth. If a child has teeth that are improperly spaced or have extensive decay, crowding, shifting or poor oral habits, early corrective treatment may be necessary to prevent more extensive treatment (including orthodontia-braces) in the future.
Early tooth development also affects a child's ability to eat, chew, form speech patterns and swallow. This is especially important for your child's sense of social confidence and self-esteem. If baby teeth are lost early, cosmetic appliances and space maintainers are available to replace them, or to provide space for the permanent teeth to come through.
Problems to watch for?
Tooth Decay: Children should keep good oral hygiene especially after eating meals and snacks. A child should not sleep with a bottle especially milk, juice or any other sugary liquids, that might cause severe decay to the teeth (rampant decay).
Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers: Thumb sucking is normal and provides security for babies and young children. However, if children continue to suck on their fingers or other objects pass age four it might cause the upper front teeth and the upper jaw to tip forward.
When to call the dentist?
1. If an adult tooth is loose or if the tooth is knocked out, do not wash the tooth, put it in milk and take it to the dentist as soon as possible to be put back in place (it has to be placed in within 2 hours for the treatment to be successful).
2. When noticing dark spots on a child's teeth.
3. When seeing permanent teeth erupting crocked where the baby teeth still in place.
4. When a child’s teeth change color (very common in the front teeth where kids fall and hit these teeth when playing).
5. When seeing changes in the tissue shape or color (bump or redness in the gum).
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