The Canadian Dental Association recommends the first dental visit should be just after your child’s first birthday. Although this may seem young, it gives the child the opportunity to feel comfortable with the sights, smells and sounds of our dental office. It will also allow time for parents to be educated about the role they play in their child’s oral health.
10 Tips to Help Your Child Build Healthy Oral Habits
- Before your baby has teeth, wipe their gums gently with a clean wet cloth after each feeding.
- If your baby sleeps with a bottle or sippy cup at naptime or bedtime, fill it with water only.
- If your baby normally falls asleep while feeding, brush his or her teeth before feeding.
- Lift your child’s lip and look for lines, spots or changes in colour on their teeth, as these may be signs of potential problems.
- As soon as the first tooth appears, start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bedtime. Fluoride is a mineral that protects teeth.
- Put a small dab of toothpaste across a small soft brush. Wipe off excess toothpaste until the child can spit it out. Begin flossing at least once a day when your child’s teeth are touching.
- Change your child’s toothbrush every one to three months or immediately after an illness.
- Let your child watch you brushing your teeth and assist your child’s tooth brushing.
- To prevent spreading germs that cause tooth decay, do not put anything in your child’s mouth if it has been in your mouth. Don’t share spoons, cups, food, toothbrushes, etc.
- Visit your dentist by the age of one year, or when the first teeth appear. Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups to make sure there are no problems.
Timelines and Patterns for Tooth Eruption
The most important thing to know is that there are average timelines and average patterns for tooth eruption. But every timeline, if not average, is normal. At around 2 1/2 years old, we can expect your child will have all their baby teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth as they fall out while some erupt further back in the mouth, behind all the baby teeth. Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for the permanent teeth, but they are important for chewing, biting, speech, and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene routine.
What should I tell my child before their first dental visit?
We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first haircut or a trip to the shoe store. Be positive and use gentle words. You can tell them we will count their teeth and polish them so they will be very shiny!
Have more questions about your child’s first visit, or children’s dentistry in general? Give us a call at 519-474-2626!
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