2165 Fourth St. Ste B,
Livermore, CA 94550
Children's teeth are just as important as your own. Careful dental care is necessary from the moment your child begins teething. Many parents wonder how often they should schedule their child's first dental appointment. The short answer is as early as your child's first birthday.
If your child is an infant, be sure to carefully clean their gums after feedings and before they go to sleep every night with a soft cloth or gauze and water. Once your child reaches toddlerhood, you can start to incorporate an age-appropriate toothbrush into their nightly routine (you can ask your dentist if they have any recommendations on which kind to use). Your child will want to start brushing on their own as soon as they're able to do so – this usually happens around the age of three. However, you should continue to remind them to brush their teeth until they are able to do it correctly by themselves. Once you see that your child is consistently brushing their own teeth twice a day, you can switch out helping them with brushing their teeth for supervising them. This is usually around the age of seven; however, every child is different.
In addition to regular at-home care, be sure to bring your child in for a cleaning every six months as well. This will help to ensure that their teeth stay clean and healthy between visits.
When children reach the age of three, they should start brushing their teeth with toothpaste that does not contain fluoride unless directed by a dentist. Parents should teach their children how to hold a toothbrush and how to move it back and forth across the front of their teeth in a circular motion. They should then help their child brush the chewing surfaces of each of their back teeth as well. Children should continue doing this twice a day until they have developed the skill of doing it properly on their own.
Once your child has reached this age, they should practice the proper flossing technique daily by wrapping a piece of floss around their middle fingers and gently sliding it between each pair of teeth. They should use a clean section of floss for each tooth to avoid introducing bacteria and food particles into areas that have already been cleaned. Parents should also supervise their young children's flossing to ensure that it is done properly and that no teeth are neglected in the process.
In addition to regular brushing and flossing, a healthy diet can also go a long way toward maintaining your child's oral health. This includes limiting between-meal snacks and eating sugary treats in moderation. You can also give your child plain water to drink rather than sweetened beverages like juice and soda. Acidic drinks should be avoided because they erode tooth enamel and cause cavities.
The American Dental Association recommends taking your child to visit the dentist by their first birthday or six months after the first tooth erupts. This early visit will help get your child used to visiting the dentist's office and provide a baseline for future visits so that any problems can be caught early on in their development.
Your child's first teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. However, their wisdom teeth often come in later as teenagers or adults. These teeth can cause crowding and pain if they are impacted, so it's important to have your dentist keep an eye on their development while they are still coming in and forming inside the gums. Your dentist may recommend monitoring the eruption of these teeth with X-rays. If the teeth are impacted or not coming in correctly, your dentist can discuss treatment options with you to help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.
It can be difficult for you and your child to get used to the idea of seeing a dentist at such a young age, but regular cleanings and exams can help prevent cavities and other oral health problems from developing. Although it may feel like your young child is too young to understand how dental care works, most dentists are trained to help children feel comfortable at their appointments.
To learn more, contact Smiles by Design at 2165 Fourth St. Ste B, Livermore, CA 94550, or call (925) 443-4182.
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