Children start coming to the Dentist at all different ages. Many parents have different reasons for when they bring their child for their first exam; be it a Head Start or Kindergarten check-up, or the age they themselves first went to the dentist.
Q: At what age should my child start going to the dentist?
A: At the age of 1. By the time a child turns 1, they will already have four teeth on top and four teeth on the bottom. Also, this age is a good time to get your child introduced to the dental office at a young age.
Q: What will take place at the “Age 1” Visit?
A: At the child’s first visit a knee to knee oral exam will be performed between the child, parent, and dentist as well as Fluoride treatment. Also, the parent will receive education on brushing their child’s teeth.
Q: What is Fluoride and why is it recommended?
A: It is a naturally occurring mineral that helps protect against cavities. When placed as a topical fluoride (rinse, varnish or foam) the teeth absorb it and become stronger against tooth decay.
Q: What can parents be doing at home?
A: There are many things parents can be doing at home to aid in their child’s oral health.
Brush your child’s teeth 1-2 times per day with a soft toothbrush and pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Minimize the number of sugary beverages your child drinks (soda pop, juice, etc.) If you give your child juice, dilute it with some water.
If you put your child to bed with a bottle, give them water. Giving a child milk or formula at bedtime will increase the likeihood of decay, known as baby bottle decay.
Other Helpful Hints
Remind your children to brush and floss regularly.
Buy oral care products that contain fluoride.
Take your child to see the dentist every 6 months.
Replace your child’s toothbrush every 3 months.
Now that your child is making more decisions for themselves, encourage them to eat right: limit starchy and sugary snacks (including pop). Eat more fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of milk and water.
Offer treats as part of a meal other than “stand alone” snacks.
At mealtime, increased saliva flow will help wash away plaque acids and food particles.
Chew sugar free gum. Xylitol is the best non-sugar gum.
If your child is active in sports, protect their teeth with a mouth guard.
Ask your dentist about dental sealants to help seal out decay.
Do you think your child needs braces? Talk to your dentist.
Children learn through what they see, so set good examples!