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When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist For the First Time?

August 1, 2016
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Posted By: Drew Gripentrog, DMD
Pediatric Dentistry in Glenview IL, Gallery Park Dental

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children get his/her first dental check-up as soon as the first tooth appears in the mouth, or no later than his/her first birthday. Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease. Many children suffer from pain and infection caused by cavities forming in the mouth at a very young age. That is why as soon as the first baby tooth is present, children need to see a dentist every 6 months just like adults.

Why Are Baby Teeth So Important?

Many people believe that just because baby teeth eventually fall out on their own, they are not as important as adult teeth. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Baby teeth act as placeholders, saving space for the adult teeth that will eventually replace them. When baby teeth are lost prematurely, due to decay or fracture, the subsequent adult tooth may erupt misaligned into the mouth. This can cause issues for the child when chewing and lead to the need for orthodontic treatment in the future. Additionally, decay that is left untreated in baby teeth, can cause pain and infection which may interrupt a child’s ability to focus in school or sleep at night.

How Do I Prevent My Kids From Getting Cavities?

Even before the first tooth appears, parents can start good oral hygiene by cleaning the child’s gums with a soft toothbrush or cloth and water. Once the teeth begin to appear, parents should brush their child’s teeth with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. For children age 3-6, parents can brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. As children begin to learn to brush their teeth on their own, parents should always brush after the child has finished ensuring the teeth are clean.

Having a good diet is also important to prevent cavities. Nursing children should never be put to bed with anything other than water in their bottle. Even milk has sugar that can cause cavities. Older children should eat a balanced diet with limited sugars and starches.

Finally, make sure your kids see the dentist every 6 months. Call Gallery Park Dental today to make an appointment for your child!

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