It’s common to think that because baby teeth will eventually fall out, they’re not that important, but the health of primary teeth in childhood can have a big impact on the health of permanent teeth in adulthood. Learning to care for baby teeth is especially important because the oral hygiene habits developed early in life can carry over into adulthood.
Is It Too Early to See a Dentist?
You may wonder if it’s too early to take your child to a dentist for an exam, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children see a dentist by 1 year of age or within 6 months of their first baby tooth erupting. Visiting a dentist early and making it a positive experience can also be a wonderful way to help them feel more comfortable visiting the dentist throughout their life.
Pediatric dentists and their staff often greatly enjoy working to make their offices fun places and usually give children brightly colored child-sized toothbrushes to take home after their visit to encourage them to continue taking care of their teeth at home. It’s also a great opportunity to ask your dentist for tips on how to care for baby teeth, specific to your child’s age and learning style.
Cavities in Baby Teeth
Cavities in baby teeth can happen, too. They may not seem like a big deal, but just like cavities in adult teeth, they can be painful for your child, so it’s important to treat them. They can also lead to early tooth loss which can cause problems later in life. Early tooth loss can create gaps so that adult or permanent teeth come in crooked, leading to the need for braces or other costly treatment. Being proactive in how you and your child care for baby teeth can save a lot of money, discomfort and time in the long run. If you are concerned that your child may have a cavity, make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible so that they can help.
How to Help Your Child Fight Cavities
When you teach your child to care for baby teeth, you’ll want to model practicing good dental hygiene at home. Baby teeth are just as important to care for just as you care for adult teeth. It’s one special way to help your child learn to brush correctly by demonstrating and supervising how much toothpaste they should use and how long to brush for. It can be helpful to practice together after each meal time.
You can also make the time fun for you and your child and something that your child will look forward to. There are lots of tools available to encourage your child to want to take good care of their teeth like toothbrushes that are designed with a popular character or colors to match your child’s style, electric toothbrushes with timers to help your child remember to brush for the correct amount of time, and toothpastes with different flavors like bubblegum or fruit.
It can also be helpful to talk with your child about why taking efforts to care for baby teeth is important and listen to any questions or concerns they might have. Dental care doesn’t have to be difficult or cause anxiety, it can actually be a lot of fun! By starting your child off early with positive experiences and making good oral hygiene habits a fun activity, you can help give your child their best chance towards a healthy smile for life.
Call our Gilbert, Mesa or San Tan Valley dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.