As adults, we know that oral hygiene is a critical part of our overall health care. Yet, many parents come to David C. Wood Family & Cosmetic Dentistry with questions about pediatric dentistry. While we encourage parents to bring their children in for examinations as soon as possible, dental care can start at home and as soon as your child’s first tooth arrives. There’s no reason you should wait to introduce your child to the basics of teeth care. In fact, many children will be naturally curious about why you’re brushing your teeth, so this is a great opportunity to teach them the ropes. If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve answered some of the most common questions we get about children’s dentistry.
1. How should I clean my baby’s teeth?
Like we stated above, teeth brushing can start as soon as your child breaks their first tooth. While your 6-month old may be resistant at first, you can easily entice them by turning the experience into a game. Some parents also invest in baby toothbrushes with soft bristles, or rubber brushes for their fingers, and let their babies gnaw on them. Not only does the rubbery texture help soothe irritated baby gums, but the texture can also help clean their teeth. You should aim to brush your baby’s teeth at least once a day.
2. When should I schedule their first visit?
The general rule of thumb is to have your child’s first dental exam with us by their first birthday. We like to encourage parents to schedule the appointment at the sign of the first tooth, but you certainly don’t want to wait any longer after they turn one year of age. Establishing an early relationship with a dentist benefits you as the parent and also benefits your baby. Visiting a new place with new people can be scary. This is why the first visit isn’t that in-depth, but still allows us to get a good clear picture of the future of your child’s dental care. Additionally, pediatric dentistry is a great way to stay ahead of any potential gum and teeth issues.
3. Why should we use a pediatric dentist?
Pediatric dentistry refers to the dental care of young people. In addition to regular dental school, a pediatric dentist has completed an additional two to three years of training and schooling. During this time, they learn the unique needs and techniques necessary for working with infants, children, and adolescents. They also learn to work with children that have special health needs. This distinction could be the difference between your child receiving great dental care and good dental care.
4. Can my baby use toothpaste?
We strongly discourage the use of fluoride toothpaste until your child is at least three years of age. Infants and toddlers usually don’t have the capabilities to spit the toothpaste out, thus they ingest it. Ingesting toothpaste is a hazard and can make your baby sick. Therefore, we recommend using only a soft bristle brush and water until they reach the right age. After that, you may start to introduce them to toothpaste, using just a pea-sized drop every time. While there are many different types of children’s toothpastes on the market, it’s still important that your child be under your supervision and use the amount suggested to prevent getting sick or accidentally poisoned.
5. How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is common and often associated with prolonged nursing. This decay occurs when a baby falls asleep while nursing or drinking from a bottle. During sleep, the saliva in your baby’s mouth is reduced, which further diminishes the body’s natural self-cleaning process in the mouth. Without this process, tooth decay can happen, especially if you regularly allow your child to nurse or be bottle-fed at bedtime. To avoid baby bottle tooth decay, wean your baby off their bedtime bottle or swap milk for water. As your child reaches their first birthday, encourage them to start drinking from a cup.
Schedule Your Child’s First Appointment
If you live in Carmel, Fishers, or Zionsville, IN, and are looking for a fun, relaxed, and knowledgeable pediatric dentist, then it’s time to schedule your child’s first appointment with David C. Wood Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. We proudly treat patients of all ages and are a constant system of support for parents. As a family clinic, we also provide teens and adults with periodontal treatment, teeth whitening, and oral surgeries. To learn more or to request an appointment, call us today at (317) 844-0592.