Even if you have already done quite a bit of research, you might still be wondering when you should take your baby to the dentist for the first time. Some parents wait until the first set of teeth erupt while others believe that an infant’s first visit should be just a few months after birth. Here is a closer look at a few signs that your baby is ready for a trip to the dentist and some of the oral health problems that can be avoided with regular dental checkups.
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Planning Your First Visit
Every child is slightly different, but most experts agree that a child should visit the dentist no later than their first birthday. An experienced dentist must examine their mouth to make sure that their teeth are going to erupt in the correct position. In some instances, parents will need to schedule a checkup before a child’s first birthday. You should contact a dentist immediately if any of their teeth start erupting a few months earlier than expected.
Warning Signs to Look Out For
Unfortunately, parents often have a difficult time telling if something is wrong with a child’s teeth or gums. Issues such as ongoing crying or an irregular sleep schedule can be caused by a wide variety of problems, and it is tough to pinpoint exactly what is going on. Your baby should see the dentist if they are constantly rubbing their face or they begin chewing on anything they get their hands on. Parents also need to regularly inspect the gums for bleeding, swelling, discoloration, bulges, or white spots.
Keep Your Child’s Teeth and Gums Healthy
Unless you have been given other instructions by your doctor or pediatrician, you should begin cleaning your baby’s gums a few weeks after they are born. You can do this by wrapping your index finger in a clean strip of gauze, dipping the gauze in water, and then wiping down the inside of their mouth. Doing that a few times a week will remove some of the germs that are lingering on their tongue and gums. As a general rule, you also need to avoid feeding your infant anything that isn’t specifically designed for younger children. Giving them sweet and processed foods will increase their risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Common Oral Health Problems among Children
Your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, but you still need to keep them as healthy as possible. Issues such as bottle rot and cavities could affect their oral health for many years to come if you aren’t careful. You and your dentist will also need to regularly inspect the teeth to make sure that they are coming in straight. Overbites, underbites, and other forms of malocclusion could have an impact on the development of their skull.
Protecting Their Baby Teeth
Once the baby teeth have erupted, you should immediately begin brushing them once or twice a day. A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head is ideal for younger children. You also need a high-quality toothpaste that is safe for babies to swallow. Even if your child happens to be fussy about brushing, you need to remain consistent and firm. Instilling good oral hygiene habits at an early age is absolutely vital to their oral health later on in life.
No matter when you decide to first bring your child to the dentist, you should continue to keep an eye out for any warning signs that there might be issues with their teeth or gums. Pediatric dental care is extremely effective, and most oral health issues can easily be taken care of as long as they are caught early on. When it comes to your baby’s oral health, it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution.