Your Child and the Dentist

Early dental care is very important for your child and their overall health.  Cavities and tooth or gum infections can lead to more serious health problems if ignored. Experts recommend that your child’s dental care start at 12 months of age, or when their first teeth appear. As your child gets older, he or she should have their teeth professionally examined and cleaned by a dentist every 6 months.

Why is it Important to Care for Baby Teeth?  While it’s true that baby teeth are only in the mouth a short period of time, they play a vital role.

  • Reserve space for their permanent counterparts
  • Aid in the development of clear speech.
  • Help attain good nutrition (missing or decayed teeth make it difficult to chew, causing children to reject foods)
  • Help give a healthy start to the permanent teeth (decay and infection in baby teeth can cause damage to the permanent teeth developing beneath them)

When it’s time to introduce your child to the dentist, here are some helpful tips:

Model relaxed behavior.  As long as you are feeling calm about it, bring your child along to your dental appointment, so they can see how easy it is.   Lead by example.

A child’s first visit to the dentist should be fun. Focus on exploring the office and getting to know the dentist and their staff. They can always return for more treatment as necessary, but that initial visit can influence the way they feel about going to the dentist for the rest of their lives.

Don’t make kids endure treatment if they are upset or panicked. Occasionally, children will have to have dental treatment under duress because of a real emergency. But generally speaking, forcing a scared and crying child to have dental work done is going to backfire. A slow, gentle approach, where the child feels in charge, can actually build their confidence and make them feel proud about overcoming their fears.

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