It’s never too early to get your child off to a good start with the dentist. Many dentists recommend that the first dental visit should occur as soon as the first tooth appears. However there is a great deal you can do as a parent to prepare your child for this first visit and to be sure her dental habits start out on the right foot.
Starting Your Child on the Road to Good Dental Health
You can get your child started with good oral hygiene even before her first visit to the dentist. Before your child’s first tooth appears, you can clean her gums with a piece of soft cloth. This will get her use to having her mouth cleaned. Once the first tooth appears, you can make her first appointment with the family dentist.
When your child’s teeth begin to emerge in earnest, you can start brushing them. Start with a small, soft toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that is designed specifically for children. If you have any questions about what kind of toothbrush or toothpaste to use, ask your family dentist.
Starting Your Child On a Tooth-Friendly Diet
Your child’s diet is as important to her future oral health as regular dental hygiene. Never let your child fall asleep with a bottle in her mouth, and never put anything in a bottle other than formula or water. Unfortunately, many toddlers developed severe tooth decay very early because they get used to falling asleep with a bottle of apple juice or formula in their mouths. The sweet liquid clings to their teeth, creating an attractive environment for the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
When your child gets older, steer her away from sugary soda, sticky candy, and foods that are not nutritionally sound. This will help her to grow up with healthy teeth as well as a healthy body and a healthy immune system. Also be sure she gets enough calcium in her diet to help her teeth develop well and to help remineralize the beginnings of tooth decay.