Healthy teeth are important to your child’s overall health. From the time your child is born, there are things you can do to promote healthy teeth. For babies, you should clean teeth with a soft, clean cloth or baby’s toothbrush. Avoid putting the baby to bed with a bottle and check teeth regularly for spots or stains.
Trying to get children to go to the dentist can yield results that range from silent anxiety and fear to major crying jags and temper tantrums.
The experts at The Chicago Dental Society recently polled more than 300 dentists and issued these tips for parents to make dentist trips easier on little ones:
- Start child’s dental visits early. Many dentists recommend starting from as early as 6 months or about the same time the child’s first tooth appears. Visiting the dentist at a young age will help the child to develop positive associations with the experience.
- Don’t make it such a “big deal” for your child. Parents set the stage for the dental visit and can be the culprit for any fears their child experiences. Be wary of making children think the dentist is scary before they even go. Let them form their own opinions.
- Entertain with child while waiting for dental works. Play with toys, watch cartoons, or fill out coloring books in the waiting room with children. This will help distract them from feeling scared and will also help calm the parent down too.
- Relax. Children can pick up on their parents’ anxieties. Remember this is an important part of a child’s health.
Child’s First Dental Visit
It is recommended that your child have a dental professional (dentist or dental therapist) examination as early as possible. A Maternal and Child Health nurse or paediatrician may also do a mouth check. They will be able to identify obvious dental disease. Information on dental care will be given to you at this time.
A common question new parents have is “When should my child first see a dentist?”
The short answer is “First dental visit by first birthday,” according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. America’s pediatricians agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who are at risk of early childhood cavities should visit a pediatric dentist by age 1. Although the idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents, the infant visit is endorsed by leading national public health groups.