Good Dental Health Starts Early

a toddler brushing their teeth in Garland, TX

Teeth start to form while the child is still in the womb. Pregnant women that maintain a healthy diet and follow their recommended daily regimen are already contributing to their child’s dental health. When the child is born, teeth do not actually begin to emerge until the age of four to six months. By twelve months of age, there are a sufficient number of teeth that the child should start to become acquainted with the family dentist.

By taking the child to the dentist at this very young age, a couple of things are accomplished:

  • Any oral abnormalities are diagnosed.
  • Consistent dental visits will acclimate the child to the dental office experience. You do not want your child’s first dental visit to be the result of a toothache. A miserable first experience at the dentist may produce a lifetime of fear and angst for a young person that persists throughout their life.
  • Your family dentist can offer helpful instruction in the home care of your child’s teeth.

When your baby’s teeth erupt, keeping them clean by wiping them with a soft material is recommended. As baby ages, daily brushing with an age appropriate toothpaste and brush should be conducted by an adult.

As the child grows, introducing dental floss and teaching the child to properly care for their teeth is often best demonstrated through example. Encouraging your child to watch you care for your own teeth is a great tool. Of course, supervision while your child brushes is needed throughout the early years.

Monitoring oral habits concerning use of a pacifier or finger sucking are important. As the child ages, discouraging the use of these comfort tools moves to the forefront of maintaining proper teeth positioning.

To help prevent dental decay, do not put your child to bed with a baby bottle containing anything other than water. Milk and juice contain a lot of sugar, and remnants of these beverages can linger in your child’s mouth during sleep. Just like adults, these leftovers can harden on teeth promoting the potential for plaque build-up and tooth decay.

Parental participation is key to excellent dental health. As your child ages, with your guidance they will have the benefit of regular visits to the dentist. They will also have developed a daily oral hygiene regimen that will serve them well throughout life.