In the first year of your child’s life, there is a lot to consider and get done. One of those things should be a visit to the dentist’s office, generally before their first birthday. In order to get your child used to the dentist and practicing good oral hygiene for the rest of their lives, it’s best to not delay this first appointment. Most experts agree that six months after the appearance of the first tooth is the perfect opportunity for a first visit.
What Happens On the First Visit?
A first session often lasts no more than 15 or 30 minutes, but it’s very important that both patient and parent stay calm so the experience is a positive one. Having your mouth examined for the first time can be a scary experience, and knowing exactly what to expect will help you and your child be ready and start building trust between dentist and patient.
The primary thing a pediatric dentist will want to do on a first visit is examine teeth, jaws, gums, and all oral tissue. This is just to make sure that everything is growing properly and that there are no developmental issues. There might also be a need for x-rays or a gentle cleaning. The most important thing throughout all of these possibilities is to communicate with your dentist and make sure your child feel comfortable around them.
Your dentist will also be able to discuss at home cleaning with you as your child’s teeth continue to grow and develop. But, there are a few basic things you can do early on to make sure that your kid’s teeth are on the right path. Use a damp cloth to clean gums after each feeding and brush their earliest teeth with a soft-bristled brush and water. It’s also a good idea to limit sucking of pacifiers and thumbs in order to avoid misalignment issues.
By the age of 5, your child should be ready to start brushing their own teeth. It’s important that by this time regular brushing has become a nightly routine, and that the parent makes sure their children are taking proper care of their teeth. The primary recommendation is brushing for two minutes, and many parents find it helpful to use a song or timer as a way to help their children measure this amount of time.
The most important part of your children’s oral hygiene is up to you. So, be sure to lead by example, showing them that you also take pride in your teeth, and get them to their dental appointments on a regular basis to avoid any long-term issues.