The importance of a person’s dental health should be a focus from the time teeth are present in the mouth. Many times we are asked about when to start brushing baby teeth, when should a child be brought in for their first visit and the importance of keeping baby teeth healthy. All of these are important factors in setting a priority for dental health, which promotes overall health.
A child that is brought in early and regularly has a better chance for good oral health. This child also grows in to an adult that has oral health as a priority. We recommend parents begin to care for baby teeth as soon as they can be seen in the mouth. Using a very soft, small brush to massage the teeth 2 times a day helps keep them clean. Use an age appropriate fluoride-free toothpaste. Even a washcloth can be used to perform this cleaning.
As far as when to bring the child for their first visit, at the age of 3, we can typically do an exam and a cleaning with their cooperation. As soon as the child responds positively to radiographs, we would do those regularly as well so we can make certain there are no cavities or tooth infections. Of course, should the child be experiencing a dental problem before age 3, we would want to see them earlier.
Should a child develop a tooth infection, it is important to treat the tooth and save it. Baby teeth serve an important purpose. Not only do they help with the digestion process by helping the child properly chew their food, baby teeth are also place holders for future permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth doesn’t have room to come in and this leads to an orthodontic (braces) need for the child. Sometimes parents think they are saving money by having baby teeth extracted, however the investment in saving the baby tooth now is much less than the cost of orthodontic treatment later. Additionally, if a baby tooth is infected it must be treated because that infection will move through the bloodstream and cause health issues overall.
If you have further questions about your child’s specific oral health, please feel free to call us at Long Family Dental and we will be happy to answer your questions or schedule your child for an appointment.