Building a Foundation for the Future
Good dental habits start early. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends a child be seen by a dentist by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth erupting. Your child’s newly erupted teeth must receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning. Union Chapel Dentistry recommends children at that young age see an experienced pediatric dentist, like our Fort Wayne pediatric dentist, Dr. Painter.
Pediatric Dentists vs. General Dentists
The main difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist who cares for children in this age range. While a pediatric dentist only cares for children up to a certain age, a general dentist can see the child regardless of age and their parents as well. This allows the whole family to be seen by the same dental office and have consistency of care from adolescence into adulthood.
What to Expect at Your Child’s Appointment
During regular visits to our Fort Wayne dental office, children typically receive a thorough examination and cleaning, have X-rays taken, and receive a fluoride treatment. Dr. Painter may also recommend that your child receive sealants on their permanent, adult teeth to help protect them against tooth decay. Rest assured that we’ll build a relationship with your child and answer any questions they may have to help them feel safe and welcome.
Instilling Good Brushing Habits
It is important to brush your child’s teeth to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Brush your child’s teeth once they first erupt. It may be difficult at first, but eventually both you and your baby will get used to it.
Begin using fluoride toothpaste on your child’s teeth starting at age two. From age two to seven, use a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth. We recommend parents and/or guardians dispense toothpaste for young children and assist with brushing. In the meantime, here are some ways you can help them at home:
- Make It Fun – The main reason most children skip their oral hygiene routine is they find it boring. Try to incorporate a song or a game so they will look forward to brushing their teeth.
- Floss – Teach your child flossing as well as brushing. Even young children should be flossing their teeth regularly.
- Healthy Eating – Limit sodas and other sugary drinks and foods that can damage your child’s teeth.
- Ditch the Binky – Try to wean your child from the pacifier by age three at the latest. This goes for thumb-sucking as well. The pressure from a pacifier or thumb can affect the alignment of their teeth and change the way their smile looks.
- Lead by example– If your child sees you brushing and flossing daily, they’ll be more likely to do it themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before your baby’s teeth have erupted, you can use a soft, warm washcloth to gently wipe their gums. Once their first tooth comes in, use a minuscule amount of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) and a soft baby toothbrush to gently clean the tooth twice a day. You should also make an appointment at our Staten Island office as soon as their first tooth has appeared.
You can increase the amount of toothpaste to roughly the size of a pea as your child grows into toddlerhood. It’s also important that you encourage your child to brush their teeth starting at a young age.
Yes! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has confirmed that fluoride treatments are not only safe for children, but they’re also an important means of preventing tooth decay. Just make sure that any fluoride applications for your child are performed by a qualified pediatric dentist.
We know children aren’t always the most diligent when it comes to their oral health, which is why we can use a dental sealant to help them out. A dental sealant is a painless, effective way to protect your child’s teeth from damage and decay.
This clear plastic coating is “painted” onto the biting surface of a tooth, creating a barrier that keeps bacteria, plaque, and acid out. With the help of sealants, your child can more easily maintain a healthy smile well into adulthood.
Start Off Right With Pediatric Dentistry in Fort Wayne
Children deserve the best chances they can get in life. This includes giving them a solid foundation for healthy, lifelong habits. We are ready to help build that relationship with your child as soon as they are. Set up an appointment for your little one by filling out our online contact form or calling us at (260) 232-0280.