Dental care involves more than just sparkling teeth. In fact, it all starts before your child has any teeth at all. Baby teeth are more important than they may seem, as they are a big part of the digestive process and can affect their speech development.
While brushing twice a day and flossing are both important parts of your child’s oral health, regular dental appointments are very important as we welcome 2020.
Today at Heroes Dental, your pediatric dentists in Laredo want to explore all of the reasons why your child shouldn’t skip any dentist appointments at a point when dental development is so crucial.
Your Baby’s First Dental Visit
Did you know that babies are born with their 20 primary teeth fully developed in their jaw? They then erupt generally between 6 months and a year, and much needs to be assessed by an experienced pediatric dentist to ensure that your baby’s dental development will continue without any causes for concern.
Even before their teeth come in, a baby’s gums should still be wiped down with a soft, wet cloth. Once their teeth grow out, however, keep them clean with non-fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush meant specifically for babies.
You should schedule your baby’s first dental visit with their pediatric dentist within 6 months from when their first tooth erupted and no later than when they turn 12 months old. This appointment is meant to check on the health of your baby’s incoming teeth and their gums.
While at their first appointment, their teeth will be checked for cavities, and any plaque will be removed. Your baby’s dentist can talk to you about any applicable fluoride treatments they can use, if any, and habits that can threaten their oral health, such as thumbsucking and sleeping with a bottle. Thumbsucking can place pressure on growing teeth and developing hard palates, causing them to grow out in a distorted fashion. Sleeping with a bottle, on the other hand, is especially risky because it can cause tooth decay.
Scheduling early appointments for your baby can also help them get comfortable with going to the dentist regularly as they grow. Your baby can become familiar with the masks and instruments their dentist uses, as well as the prizes they get when they’re done!
Dental Visits for Your School-Aged Tot
After your baby turns two, they should have a dental checkup every six months so that their pediatric dentist can make sure their teeth are developing in a healthy way and to routinely clean off any plaque from their teeth. If your child is looking to get braces soon, they may need more frequent appointments for maintenance as well.
When your child reaches school-age, keeping track of their dental health is more critical. Dental problems and gum disease cause children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year. It’s important to monitor your child’s brushing and flossing to make sure that they are doing so properly. Kids can be excited to brush their teeth themselves, but they may not have the motor skills to reach all those hard-to-reach places.
As they get older, your child may know they should brush and floss but simply may not want to. It’s important that they develop those healthy habits early on while they are young to prevent problems later in life.
Even teenagers may need to be prompted to brush and floss every day. It is also a good idea to schedule your child a dental checkup before they start school in the summer and during their winter break, making a dentist visit is much easier to commit to.
What’s the Danger of Skipping Pediatric Dental Visits?
Pediatric dental health is extremely important, but we have yet to explore why. Below you will find a list of the benefits of regular dental appointments for your child, as well as some of the risks of skipping them.
- Early appointments can help prevent cavities in the future – You can ask your pediatric dentist about sealants that can help reduce the risk of cavities on their permanent molars by 80 percent. Children under 10 are especially vulnerable to cavities, but regular dental cleaning can help their teeth stay free of cavity-causing plaque before it becomes a problem.
- Early appointments can help your child become comfortable when visiting the dentist – Fear of going to the dentist is extremely common, but familiarizing your kids with the process and their pediatric dentist can help reduce any anxiety in the future.
- Missing appointments can let tooth decay go unchecked – Plaque can build up and break down the enamel on your child’s teeth, eventually causing tooth decay and gum inflammation–also known as gingivitis. This condition, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems like periodontal disease. This disease is very serious and can make a person more prone to heart problems, diabetes, and other health conditions.