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Proper Dental Care Begins as a Child

Parents are used to taking their young children to numerous doctors appointments. There are regular checkups and vaccinations that must be done on a schedule. Unfortunately, many parents forget that dental care is also very important to their kids. They don't realize that the first trip to a pediatric dentist should happen when the first tooth appears, between 6 and 12 months of age.

What will you learn at your child's first appointment?

During your child's very first dental exam, the dentist will be looking for signs of early dental decay. Even the youngest patient is vulnerable to tooth decay. Once a child starts eating or drinking more than breast milk, the risk for decay rises. The teeth will be gently cleaned, and they may be treated with a protective sealant. If a problem is found, it will be fixed before it gets any worse.

In addition to regular dental checkups, you should also take good care of your child's teeth at home. This means helping your child brush their teeth on a daily basis. Using a kid's toothbrush, carefully brush each tooth with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. The gums should also be massaged with the toothbrush. You should start allowing your child to assist you with the tooth brushing when they are about three years old.

Never let your child fall asleep with a bottle containing milk or juice. The sugars in these drinks can promote tooth decay. If you child insists on sleeping with a bottle, fill one with plain water. It is also smart to rinse out your child's mouth after every meal.

Starting dental care at a young age will not only prevent tooth problems from popping up, but it will also teach your child the importance of taking care of their teeth. Kids that are introduced to the dentist at a young age are less likely to develop dental fears as they grow up.