Here at BOCO Dental & Prosthodontics, we are passionate about preventative care. The earlier you start taking care of your smile, the more likely you will be to have a healthy mouth long term. But when should that preventative care start?
Primary Dental Care & First Dental Visits for Children
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children have their first dental visit by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. This may seem early to a lot of parents, in fact, the average age of most children’s first trip to the dentist is around two and a half. The truth is that a child’s “baby teeth” are actually quite important to their growth and development. These teeth help a child keep a healthy diet and are critical in speech development. In addition, they help pave the way for adult teeth, keeping enough space for the bigger, permanent teeth that will replace them as the child grows up.
There is a lot that you can do to keep your child’s mouth as healthy as possible. Before your child’s teeth even erupt, you can begin their oral health regimen with a soft cloth or infant toothbrush. When those first teeth start popping in, it is safe to use a tiny smear of toothpaste on a soft brush to clean the teeth that are visible. Between the ages of 3-6, increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea.
Preventative dental care for children keeps their teeth healthy for years to come.
Diet plays a big role in the development of your child’s teeth. Calcium-rich foods, like dairy, almonds, broccoli, and kale help strengthen your child’s teeth. It is also best to avoid overly sugary foods and drinks. If your child can’t help but enjoy them, brush their teeth right after consumption. Or at the very least a water rinse will help reduce the build up of sugars that cause tooth decay.
Once your child has their adult teeth, another thing you can to do dramatically reduce their likelihood of cavities is have sealants put on. The sealants provide a layer of protection to premolars and molars to protect against tooth decay. Sealants can last up to 10 years and can help get children through their adolescence cavity-free – helping them reach a more mature age when they can better care for their teeth!