Taking Care of Your Baby’s Teeth

As a parent, I wouldn’t think of putting my child’s health in the hands of any doctor other than a qualified pediatrician. The same goes for my kids and their dental health. Choosing the right dentist is very important. It aids in fighting the number one condition that affects children’s teeth – tooth decay. This is why having a great “pediatric” dentist – yes I said “PEDIATRIC DENTIST” is important. There’s a big difference and it’s critical to your child’s dental health.

I didn’t realize why choosing a pediatric dentist was so important until I had my own children. I had to learn a few lessons the hard way, but thankfully I was able to locate a dentist who has been wonderful in maintaining my children’s teeth and gums. By the way, the reason I stress pediatric dentist is for the obvious reason, just like a pediatric doctor specializes in children’s bodily health, pediatric dentists specialize in children’s teeth. This makes a world of difference – trust me.

Through trial and error, I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’m going to share a few tips I’ve gathered, some of which you may already know, some of which maybe a surprise (they were to me). Hopefully these tips can help you on your quest to locate the ideal dentist for your little one(s).

The First Visit

(1) It’s best to take your child for his/her first dental visit around 18 months. Bringing them in at 3 or 4 years, is not the best because many times there’s already an underlying problem which my result in a shot in the mouth (ouch), caps over teeth or even extraction.

(2) Make sure the first visit is a good one. What do I mean by this? For starters, make sure you’re comfortable with the dentist and make sure your child (or children) is also. I’ve learned that if the child feels comfortable, you’ll get a lot more productivity out of the visit and a lot less drama when it’s time to return. There are some dentists who are “paycheck” encouraged and really aren’t concerned about the overall health of your child’s teeth (been there done that). Just be very observant – you’ll know.

(3) The visit should consist of an evaluation, a discussion with you the parent, a quick cleaning with fluoride, stickers, prizes, etc. and a follow up appointment made. You don’t want to horrify the kids on the first visit.

Another good reason to take your child to the dentist early is to prevent any onset of unusual spots or discoloration which can be an early sign of tooth decay. It doesn’t take long to surface due to children’s primary teeth having thinner enamel than those of their permanent teeth.

Take for instance drinking juice. When a child drinks juice, the first place the juice hits is the front of their mouth and that’s where the problems usually surface first. I also have a few suggestions on this (the dentist backed me up on these too).

(a) Try to only give 100% juice to your child due to the high sugar levels in juices made with high fructose corn syrup. Because so many are made this way, remember this – regardless of the juices given, water them down a bit and then have your child rinse with regular water afterwards. It helps swish out some of the sugar that deposit on the teeth after eating and drinking.

(b) Get your kids in the habit of brushing even at a small age. Twice a day is a good start and you can gradually add more after certain meals. If you make it fun (I brush with my kids and we sing and shake a bit), they won’t think it so much of a chore to do.

(c) Look for toothpaste that has the ADA (American Dental Association) recommendation logo shown. You’ll be amazed that little things like this do make a difference.

Ultimately, prevention is the most important aspect of our children’s dental health. But we know that as long as they are kids, candy, juice, fruit, etc. will play a part in their dental lives in some form or fashion. We need to just make sure we take note of the little things and manage our children’s eating intakes wisely. If problems are addressed early enough, some problems can be blocked with early intervention.