Dental Care for the Very Young
We’ve found that many parents of young children (age 2 or 3 and younger) are understandably concerned about making sure their offspring receive proper dental care.
Many have questions: how young can the child be for his first visit? Can she use fluoride toothpaste? How do I clean his first teeth? And so on.
Read below for some FAQs and answers when it comes to the oral hygiene of babies and toddlers.
What age should my child first see a dentist? Your child should see a dentist for the first time is when he or she starts to get teeth.
I’d really rather wait until my child is 2 or 3. It really is best to have your child see a dentist when those first teeth come in. The dentist can speak to you and answer any questions you might have about your child’s teeth. The dentist also can educate you on how to keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong; this can also help avoid problems with your child’s baby teeth.
He’s a year old, he has his baby teeth; it’s time to get him to a dentist!
How should we clean those first teeth? Get a small, rattle-like chew ring that has a few soft toothbrush bristles on it. The bristles will massage the child’s gums and even strengthen them during teething. The bristles also will clean the teeth that have already erupted. You should be able to find these rings in a drugstore, or ask your Plano dentist if he or she can supply you with one or two.
What type of toothpaste is best for my baby? Toothpaste that doesn’t have fluoride is best for babies and even young children (until they can spit on their own). Ask your dentist if he or she has a MI-Paste. This tool uses a milk protein called Casein, a fluoride-free paste that has incredible cavity prevention and even reversal properties. MI-Paste is safe for babies as well as toddlers.
When can my child start using fluoride toothpaste? Once your toddler can spit on command, he or she can start using fluoride toothpaste. You should wait until the child can spit because excessive amounts of fluoride can be harmful. You should always monitor your child’s tooth brushing activity when using fluoride toothpaste.
Must my child see a pediatric dentist, or can I take my child to a general dentist? Ask your general dentist if he or she has a lot of experience working with young children. If not, ask the dentist if he or she can recommend a good pediatric dentist, particularly one that has experience working with babies and toddlers.
When can children brush their teeth? It depends on your child. If your child already is brushing on his or her own, ask your dentist to examine your child to see how well he or she is doing. Children exhibit different levels of manual dexterity. A 2-and-a-half-year old could be perfectly capable of brushing on her own, while a 4-year-old may still need some help from Mom and Dad.
When should my child start using fluoride rinses? The best cavity preventive measure is a fluoride varnish professionally applied by your Plano dentist every six months. In addition, as soon as your child can spit out a fluoride mouth rinse without swallowing any of it, he or she is ready to start using an OTC fluoride rinse.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the care of your baby’s or toddler’s teeth, contact Dr. Darren Dickson by phone or via e-mail at [email protected]
Image courtesy Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net