After all, they are “baby teeth” and they will fall out to be replaced by permanent teeth, so it’s easy to think that they don’t matter. But it’s important not to underestimate the importance of these kids’ dental appointments.
First Appointment at 6 Months or First Tooth
A lot of parents think it sounds insane to take a baby to the dentist. But remember, starting good habits early can prevent a host of undesirable conditions for your little one, and nip any problems in the bud. For these very young kids, dental appointments are much less traumatic than they are for adults. The dentist will start by looking at the baby’s tooth or teeth, and perhaps doing a quick cleaning. There won’t be any x-rays, and probably no scraping tools or loud machinery at the first visit.
Oral Health Affects Permanent Teeth
Those baby teeth are very important. For one thing, they are actually making the path for the permanent teeth. If your child is a thumb-sucker and this affects the spacing and direction of the baby teeth, the permanent teeth behind them will also be affected.
Also, the baby teeth don’t all come out at the same time, nor do the permanent teeth come in at the same time. As you probably remember from when you were in first grade, the teeth fall out one by one. This means that while a new permanent tooth is coming in, it will be surrounded by baby teeth. If those teeth are full of bacteria, gingivitis and cavities, the new tooth can easily pick up those conditions from the overall poor oral health in the mouth.
Additional Care and Precautions
In addition to being diligent about the kids’ dental appointments, be sure to teach your child how to brush properly. By around the age of two, a child can usually brush on their own pretty well, and then you can come behind them for a quick touch-up. As soon as the child can spit successfully, use children’s toothpaste with fluoride.
Also, remember that the germs and bacteria that cause dental problems can be transferred just like any other germ. If you have any cavities, gingivitis or another dental problem, do not blow on your child’s food to cool it, and be careful about any transfer of those germs.
Ousama El-Hillal, referred to as Dr. O by patients, staff and friends is an Orthodontist at E&S Orthodontics. He founded E&S Orthodontics with Dr. Saavedra in 2004. He is driven to create Wide Beautiful Smiles Without Extractions.