So your baby is finally getting a few teeth in her mouth. We know you’ll miss that goofy toothless smile. But this is an important milestone for her, opening up a delicious world of new foods, textures, and experiences. Maybe you’ve heard (or you just assume) that very young children don’t need to visit the dentist or worry about tooth decay — after all, their teeth will just fall out down the road anyway, right?
It is very important to take care of your child’s gums and teeth from the beginning. Baby teeth are placeholders for the permanent teeth. So if they fall out prematurely, that can have consequences well into adulthood. Also, a child must have a full set of teeth in order to learn how to chew and speak properly.
And the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you take your baby for her first dental visit before her first birthday. This will be the foundation for a lifetime of good dental care and a healthy mouth.
At Silver Leaf Dentistry, we provide a positive, stress-free, and even fun dental experience for all members of the family, including baby. Do you live in the Longmont area and think it’s time for your baby or toddler’s first time in the dentist’s chair? (Don’t worry, she can sit in your lap!) If so, call us at 720-504-2539 to make an appointment with Dr. Wallin.
Banish Baby Bottle Mouth
Did you know that baby teeth are present even at birth? Yup, you can’t see them, but they are in the jaw awaiting their time to push through to the surface. As soon as they do, they are susceptible to decay. In addition to scheduling baby’s first dental appointment at Silver Leaf, there are things you can do at home to keep cavities away.
- Oral hygiene starts even before you see that first tooth! Use a damp washcloth to wipe your newborn’s gums after feedings. This prevents bacteria from building up, plus gets you and your baby into a routine of good dental care.
- Once teeth appear, it’s time to start regular, gentle brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush. At first, just use water (no toothpaste). Eventually, add a rice-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste to the bristles, then a pea-sized amount when your child is around three years old. Be sure to reach all surfaces of your child’s teeth — front and back.
- Never — and we mean never — allow your child to fall asleep with the aid of a bottle of milk or juice. This can lead to an awful condition called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or bottle rot, which is severe decay due to prolonged exposure to sugary drinks.
At Silver Leaf Dentistry, We Put Kids At Ease
If you think it will help your child have a more positive dental experience, you may bring him or her into the office for a “happy visit” before the first appointment. They will get a fun tour and maybe even balloons and a toy from the toy box. During the child’s examination, he or she may watch cartoons on one of our ceiling-mounted TVs and drown out external sounds with noise-canceling headphones. As with adults, all dental instruments are kept out of view of the patient.
Brushing Time = Fun Time
Perhaps the best way to take the fear factor out of your child’s dental visits is instilling good and consistent tooth care habits, which will minimize the need for invasive procedures. Don’t make it a chore–here are a few ways to make brushing teeth fun for your kids:
- Look up “toothbrushing songs” to add a soundtrack to the routine. Or just choose a two-minute snippet of your child’s favorite song.
- Routine, routine, routine. You may tempted to allow your child to skip brushing after a long day or due to a disrupted schedule. But don’t do it. Brushing MUST become second nature.
- Maybe it’s a sticker chart. Maybe it’s the promise of a trip to the park or a round of a favorite game. Motivate your child with a special (non-candy) reward.
- Find toothbrushing role models. There are many kids’ TV shows with toothbrushing-themed episodes, as well as books on the subject. And don’t forget the most important role model of all: you, the parent! Demonstrate good habits, and your kids will be inspired to follow.
Ready to make an appointment for your child — or anyone in the family? Call Silver Leaf Dentistry’s Longmont, CO office 720-504-2539 to schedule a “happy tour” or an appointment. Or contact us online.