Dental Care – How Early Should You Take Your Child to the Dentist?

Many people are waiting too long to begin dental care for their children. Twenty percent of children have their first cavity before age five, and many have more than one cavity-50 to 70 percent of children will have at least one cavity in their grade school years. We, as adults, know the importance of proper dental care, but it is important that we apply this information to our children as well. Proper dental care can begin before an infant gets his/her first tooth. Here are some guidelines:

Infant Dental Care:

1. After a baby drinks a bottle or eats food, even before they have teeth, you should wash their gums with a wet washcloth to keep the gums clean. Decay can start before the teeth come in.

2. Do not ever put a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or formula because the milk stays on the gums and teeth.

3. Once the infant gets their first tooth, you can practice proper dental care by brushing their teeth with a soft tooth brush and infant toothpaste.

4. Soon after the baby gets their first tooth, make an appointment to see the dentist. Most dentists recommend that babies come in around their first birthday. However, if you have concerns before that, you should take them in sooner. This will also help them to feel more comfortable getting dental care in the future.

5. Brush the infant’s teeth at least twice a day, making sure to brush before bedtime.

Children:

1. Once all of the child’s baby teeth are in, if you have not been to the dentist, go as soon as possible.

2. Supervise your child’s brushing until they are at least 6 years old.

3. As your child starts getting permanent teeth, they should begin flossing with adult assistance.

4. If a tooth gets knocked out, take the child and also the tooth if you have it, to the dentist. Putting the tooth in a cup of cold milk may allow it to be put back in.

5. Orthodontic care can begin as young as age seven or eight.

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