My oldest daughter is about to turn three. THREE. How this is possible, I will never know. But, with her third birthday came the need to plan her first visit to the dentist. I had a lot of questions surrounding this milestone and I am assuming that I am not the only parent in the same boat.
I am super excited to have partnered with Dental Reflections Dublin to bring you some awesome tips regarding oral health and hygiene for the your little ones.
Some common questions:
When should I take my child to see a dentist for their first visit?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAPD) recommends upon first tooth eruption which is typically around 6-9 months. This visit is solely for educating the parents on taking care of their child’s teeth. The dentist may or may not look in the child’s mouth at this time. The goal is to create healthy habits early on to promote good oral health.
What Age Will They Clean My Child’s Teeth?
Typically, age 3 is when a dental provider can expect a child to cooperate or do well during their visit. Keep in mind this isn’t always the case either. It is very important to create a positive experience for a child at the dentist. This sets the stage for their entire life. Even if the child just sits in the chair and picks out their own toothbrush and becomes familiar with their surroundings, it’s a step in the right direction. It is also important to find a dentist you trust that will be patient with your little one as they warm up to a new environment. A lap exam is also an option. This is where the parent and dentist sit facing each other with their knees touching. The child faces the parent sitting on their lap with one leg on each side of them. The child then lays back in the dentist’s lap while the parent gently holds the child’s hands on their belly so the dentist can get a good look inside the mouth. The child may cry a bit but typically stops immediately upon the completion of the exam and then gets to choose a prize and a sticker. The goal is to do a little more each visit until the child is comfortable with a routine cleaning, exam, and fluoride treatment.
Why are Baby Teeth Important?
Most people do not realize the importance of keeping the baby teeth. As we all know, the child will eventually lose all 20 teeth and have replacements for them. However, did you know a child usually does not lose their last baby tooth/teeth until around age 11-13? That is correct. The first baby tooth is lost around age 6. It is usually a bottom, front, middle tooth. If a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, it can affect the child’s confidence when they smile as well as their ability to eat and speak. This is when they are developing and learning so much. Their teeth are so important to keep until they are ready to fall out on their own and the permanent tooth is right behind it.
Tips for Caring for Your Child’s Teeth
- Use a rice size amount of fluoridated toothpaste per the AAPD upon first tooth eruption. Smear the toothpaste into the bristles. This is a very safe amount of toothpaste to use and will help prevent cavities in your little one.
- Brush their teeth twice a day. Make up a song about brushing and make it a fun routine! They can have a turn first but be sure to go over all of the teeth after. Encourage rinsing and spitting. This takes time! Do not panic if your child swallows the toothpaste or sucks on their toothbrush. This is completely normal.
- Never send your baby or toddler to bed with anything besides water in a bottle or cup. Juice and milk can cause baby bottle tooth decay which deteriorates the teeth as they are erupting or soon after.
- Try to avoid sticky foods such as fruit snacks and dried fruit. Avoid excessive snacking. It is more about frequency than amount consumed. Limit water only between meals to avoid sipping on acid drinks throughout the day.
If you are looking for a family friendly dentist with a special pediatric side for you little one, Dental Reflections Dublin is a great option for you. They are very patient and thorough with children and will take great care of them. They made the experience not only pain and tear free, but FUN! My daughter even walked out with a certificate for her first tooth cleaning, a t-shirt, sticker and she got to chose from the prize bin…all after she was able to chose her very own character toothbrush!
Wherever you decide to go, rest assured that you are creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime!
And the winner is of the Summer prizepack giveaway is … Hannah S. Congrats!