January 3, 2018
As a parent, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the parenting advice out there! From how much screen time a child should get to what they should be eating, parents are bombarded with information about what they should and shouldn’t be doing for their kids. One thing is for sure: It’s important that your children start seeing the dentist regularly at or before the age of one. This recommendation is widely accepted as the standard of care, according to both dentists and the American Dental Association. As a family dentist in Lisle explains, it’s also one of the best things you can do to give your kids the start they need to have a healthy smile for life.
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
It seems logical that baby teeth wouldn’t really matter that much. After all, they just fall out eventually – how important could they be? The truth is that keeping them healthy is crucial to your child’s present and future oral health! Here’s why:
- Baby teeth guide the development and position of adult teeth as a child gets older. If they get large cavities and come out too soon, it can harm the health of those adult teeth and have long-term consequences.
- Although baby teeth do fall out at some point, they still need to function for many years. If they aren’t healthy it can cause problems with the child’s speech and ability to chew.
- A cavity is really just a type of infection, whether it starts in a baby tooth or a permanent one. If left unchecked it can lead to an abscess and spread to larger areas, where it can cause bigger problems.
What Can You Do To Keep Baby Teeth Healthy?
The first thing you can do is to schedule a visit with a Lisle dentist who can evaluate your child’s current oral health and make appropriate recommendations. As mentioned before, this first visit is ideally scheduled at or before the age of one, but the next best time is as soon after that as possible!
At this first visit, sometimes called a “happy visit,” the dentist will examine the teeth and help make the child comfortable. This is very important because setting up a positive association sets the child up for a lifetime of good dental care and helps them avoid developing a fear of the dentist.
A cleaning and x-rays won’t be done until the child is a bit older, but by that time they’ll be very comfortable and may even think of going to the dentist as a fun experience!
Here are a few more things you can do for your child’s dental health:
- Brush with a child’s toothbrush and toothpaste twice a day. Start gently flossing with kid’s flossers around the age of four.
- Minimize sugars and carbohydrates (e.g., juice, soda, candy, etc.)
- Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle, as even the natural sugars in milk can cause severe decay!
- If you live in an area without fluoridated water, talk to your dentist or pediatrician about fluoride supplements, which will make the developing teeth much stronger and healthier.
By taking these simple steps, your child will enjoy a lifetime of having strong, beautiful teeth!
About the Author
Dr. Frank Marchese and Dr. Jeanelle Marchese (“Dr. Nellie”) are a father-and-daughter team who combine the best of modern dentistry with decades of experience to serve both children and adults. In particular, Dr. Nellie loves to help parents understand their children’s oral health and how to make sure they have healthy smiles for life. They can be reached for questions via their website, or at (630) 969-2310.
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