Say goodbye to your baby’s precious gummy smile and hello to those toddler pearly whites. It’s never too early to start thinking about your child’s teeth. The American Dental Association recommends you make an appointment as soon as their first tooth comes through but no later than age 1. Starting early is the best way to give kids a road map towards overall dental health. Early childhood dental intervention is crucial to recognizing potential problems and, more importantly, for teaching children how to care for their teeth and gums for a lifetime.
Early dental checkups help prevent cavities and tooth decay in young children, which leads to overall dental health in teenagers and adults. Children who have received early childhood dental checkups have healthy teeth without dental pain. This means they speak more clearly, chew food more thoroughly and are overall more self confident with social interactions that are important in development, such as speaking and smiling.
Tooth decay is the most chronic childhood illness in the United States, affecting more than 40% of school aged children by the time they are enrolled in kindergarten. The number rises even higher for primary school aged children to 60% affected. A pediatric dental visit allows the dental professional to guide parents in the importance of dental health at an early age, and may include the following information:
- Causes of tooth decay: such as sleeping with baby bottles, drinking milk or juice before bed, and allowing sugary substances to stay on young teeth
- Switching to a cup after the age of 1: to reduce the chances of milk or juice being consumed at bedtime
- Proper brushing techniques for children: to teach parents the best way to care for their children’s teeth until the child has the dexterity and motor skills to brush and floss for themselves
Kids may have apprehensions about the dentist since they don’t know quite what to expect. They may fear new faces, loud noises, and foreign instruments being used on them. You can ease their worries by helping to effectively prepare them long before their appointment time begins. Explain to them what the dentist and dental assistants do. Let them ask questions about the procedures. And, if possible, schedule a practice visit before their official first appointment so that your child can get a tour and see the dental office in action.
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia provides expert, high quality pediatric dental care to children of all ages. Our team of professionals also provides special needs dentistry for children with developmental delays or medical conditions that require specialized care. The importance of early childhood dental intervention and care is emphasized by our team at every visit. Contact us for an appointment to schedule your child’s dental checkup at (804) 739-0963.