Ensuring your child’s dental health always starts with you. Oral healthcare should begin when your child is an infant. Gently rub their gums with a very soft cloth. Starting oral hygiene early gets your child in the habit of taking care of their gums and teeth, and prevents early childhood tooth decay. When your child’s first tooth emerges, you can use a baby toothbrush. Be gentle as you brush. Remember to also floss your child’s teeth. As soon as your child can hold a toothbrush, teach them to properly brush and floss their teeth.
Scheduling Your Child’s First Dental Visit
It is important for your child to have a positive experience at the dentist so that they feel comfortable and avoid developing dental anxiety. We encourage you to begin your child’s oral health care at home as an infant, and schedule their first dental appointment around age three, unless you have a dental concern or notice a potential problem. Children should have regular cleanings and dental exams every six months to ensure they maintain healthy teeth and gums. Dr. Mitschke also provides additional cavity protection with fluoride treatments and dental sealants.
We can add further protection against tooth decay with dental sealants and in-office fluoride treatments. Dental sealants are thin plastic-like coverings painted on the chewing surface of the teeth to provide a protective shield over the enamel of the tooth.
Fluoride treatments can be applied at your child’s professional cleaning. The Vanish Varnish™ fluoride treatment is painted onto your child’s teeth, and will stick for a few hours to maximize the uptake of fluoride. Fluoride will help protect your child’s enamel against decay by facilitating the influx of calcium and phosphorous into demineralized areas of the tooth. Dr. Mitschke can discuss these options with you, and help you decide if sealants and fluoride treatments will be beneficial for your child.
Ensuring Your Child’s Oral Health
Ensuring your child’s oral health also includes watching what they eat and drink. Sugary snacks and beverages provide a food source for bacteria, which in turn produce the acid that demineralizes enamel. When the demineralization progresses past the enamel layer of the tooth and into the dentin, the softer second layer of the tooth, a cavity is formed.
Encouraging healthy eating habits, creating a daily oral hygiene routine, and scheduling six-month dental appointments are all ways to ensure your child’s dental health. Our office will partner with you and your child to keep their smiles healthy and beautiful!
For more information on children’s dentistry, please visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry at www.aapd.org.