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Nat’l Children’s Dental Health Month: When to take your child to the Dentist

First Tooth, First Birthday, First Dental Visit. 

It’s never too early to start focusing on your child’s oral health. The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents establish a dental home for their child by their first tooth or first birthday. During this time, parents/guardians will have the opportunity to ask questions and address any dental concerns at the primary visit and the dentist will gently swab the child’s mouth to check their gums and any erupted teeth. As the child starts teething, the dentist will be able to monitor their progress and implement preventative measures for any concerns with your baby’s teeth.

Baby teeth are so important because of their key role of saving space for a child’s permanent teeth. They stay in a child’s mouth for 8-10 years and also affect their speaking, chewing, and for smiling. Baby teeth can also indicate a child’s overall quality of health. Untreated tooth decay can cause oral infections that enter the bloodstream and lead to other serious health problems, while also allowing bacteria to spread to new adult teeth.

While daily brushing is an important part of a child’s oral hygiene routine, bacteria that causes tooth decay can still linger between teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. That’s why it’s so important to help your kids incorporate flossing in their daily routine.

One significant oral health risk for infants and young children under the age of 1 is from baby bottle tooth decay. This occurs when your child consumes sugary liquid and bacteria in their mouth consume the sugar and roduce acid. This acid attacks the enamel on baby teeth can trigger tooth decay after continued exposure. Liquids that contribute to this condition include milk, formula, fruit juice, soda, and any other sweetened drinks. If your child needs to sleep with a bottle, water is the safest option.