We’d never think of missing our baby’s pediatrician visits—in fact, with all of the vaccines and well-baby checkups, chances are we’ll see our pediatrician more than we see our best friend!
But we often neglect to bring our baby to the dentist. When is the best time to bring our baby, and what other ways can we help take care of our baby’s teeth?
When to bring our baby
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, parents should schedule the first dentist’s visit as soon as the first tooth shows up. That can happen anytime between six months and your child’s first birthday. (Read our tips on how to soothe your teething baby.)
What will the dentist do?
The dentist will check your baby’s mouth and gums to see if the teeth are growing and developing normally. He will also check the teeth for dental caries, which is actually quite common among babies and toddlers when they fall asleep with a bottle or begin to take high-sugar juices and treats.
Your dentist will also give you information on how to take care of your baby’s teeth, including the nutrients that he needs and what kind of toothpaste is best for him.
You may also request for your child to be given a fluoride varnish, which will act as a ‘shield’ to protect his teeth from cavities.
Benefits of bringing your baby to a dentist
While this may seem like a whole lot of fuss when your baby only has one or two teeth, but you avoid the problem of dentist’s phobia. For one thing, through regular visits, your baby gets to know the dentist and gets used to the examination and the clinic. And since you are proactively preventing dental problems, your child avoids the trauma of seeing the dentist only when his tooth has a cavity.
It’s also very important to take care of baby teeth, since they play a role in speech and proper language development, and also create the path for permanent teeth.
What parents can do
Your dentist can give you lots of good tips, but you as parent play a far larger role in your child’s dental health. Be sure to brush his teeth twice a day, and to avoid giving him food with a lot of sugar. Don’t put juice in a bottle, and as your child’s teeth come in, wean him from the habit of taking a bottle of milk before he sleeps.
photo from babydigest.com