Early Treatment

h-patient.jpgThere’s No Going Back: How Early Treatment Affects Lifelong Dental Health

Baby teeth are very important to lifelong dental development. It’s true. They are disposable teeth, but they are also necessary to help the child develop good speech habits. They also set the standard for jaw development, and regulate the transition to permanent teeth.

Establishing good dental habits early on will set a precedent for dental health into adulthood. Children who learn to take care of their teeth before secondary teeth emerge have fewer cavities and other dental issues throughout their lives. Good dental hygiene has been linked to better overall health. Start now! Teach your children to value their teeth and take care of their teeth. Call to set up an appointment today.

Here are some things to consider in your child’s early dental care.

Infant Tooth Eruption or the Teething Blues

Teeth actually begin to form before birth. By 3 years of age, the primary teeth have all emerged starting with the bottom then top front teeth, or incisors. Most children get their first tooth by their first birthday, some as early as 4 months old. Perhaps you have already begun to experience the teething phase marked by an irritable baby with sore gums. You can soothe tender gums by:

  • Rubbing with a clean finger or cold spoon
  • Use a wet cloth to calm the discomfort
  • Teething rings, especially cool ones can numb the gums
  • Stay away from teething biscuits to keep sugar off of emerging teeth

Going to the Dentist for the First Time

As teeth begin to show up, it is time to consider baby’s first visit to the dentist. Your child’s first appointment with the dentist should be around his or her first birthday. As long as you clean teeth twice a day with a damp cloth, you don’t need to visit the dentist before the first year mark.

Early visits to the dentist are more about forming a good habit and getting comfortable with the doctor and staff than anything else. Early visits establish trust and set the standard for attitudes toward the dental office and dental care. Make your child as comfortable as possible during early visits. As he or she grows, encourage discussion about fears and reassure with good dental experiences.

The Connection between Diet and Teeth

You already know to limit your child’s sugar intake. Sweets are fuel for bacteria in the mouth and cause tooth decay, or cavities, quickly. But perhaps you didn’t know that healthy foods can actually make teeth stronger.

Raw vegetables aid in cleaning plaque off of the teeth. Dairy foods like yogurt, cheese, and milk contain calcium which helps build strong, bacteria resistant teeth. A well balanced diet keeps the soft tissues of the mouth healthy.

Avoid Baby-Bottle Tooth Decay

Most of the tooth decay seen in infants is due to baby bottles and Sippy cups. It is a common habit to allow babies to use a bottle to fall asleep, but it is very damaging to their teeth.

Milk, formula, or juice sometimes stays in the mouth when a baby falls asleep. During waking hours, babies produce saliva, which helps to move sugary substances away from the teeth and keeps bacteria from multiplying. When your baby falls asleep with a bottle, the teeth essentially take a bath in sugary liquids which starts the process of tooth decay.
You can stop baby-bottle tooth decay by giving your baby water in his or her bottle or cup at night. You can also use a pacifier instead of a bottle.

Permanent Teeth and Beyond

About the age of 6, your child will experience the excitement of losing his or her first tooth. Over the next 15 years, the baby teeth will all fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. Hopefully, you have already established good dental habits, and now is a good time to allow your child to start taking initiative in caring for his or her own teeth.

Primary teeth that have been well-cared for give way for healthy secondary teeth. Dental visits should continue twice yearly from childhood through adulthood. Healthy habits pay off as the years go by.

There’s no going back, so take steps now to ensure your child’s teeth will bring wonderful smiles for years to come.

Still have questions? Contact us today to find out more.