A child’s oral and dental health need to be monitored carefully, since the condition of their teeth and jaws during their formative years will affect the rest of their lives. Certain dental activities are also unique to children, like the emergence of baby teeth and associated “teething” troubles, the position and alignment of their permanent teeth and issues like baby bottle tooth decay.
When Should You Take Your Child to a Pediatric Dentist?
It is helpful to have the first dental visit when the baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. This first visit is a “well-baby checkup” for your child’s teeth.
During this visit, the dentist will check for decay or any other oral problems, and show you how to clean the baby’s teeth and gums properly. The dentist will also advise you on the correct diet or healthy teeth, pacifier use and oral care products for the child.
It’s very important to prevent the occurrence of caries (tooth decay) now, rather than treating it later. Regular dental check-ups can help the dentist detect caries from its earliest stages, and halt its progress by using effective preventive measures like the application of fluorides.
If your child is prone to caries, the dentist may apply pit and fissure sealants to the permanent teeth as soon as they erupt (around the age of 5-6 years) to prevent caries. In modern practice, there are several preventive and prophylactic procedures to help your child have a caries-free mouth, today and forever!
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a term used to describe cavities or tooth damage caused by drinking from bottles, typically affecting the front teeth. It can occur when your child drinks from baby bottles for extended periods of time, or if you give them any liquid such as sweetened milk, infant formula, juices, etc. in bottles at bed time.
Caries can appear as dark or brown spots on the teeth. As the decay worsens, children might experience pain and swelling around the teeth.
Why Take Your Child to Visit a Pediatric Dentist?
It’s a common misconception that the premature loss of baby teeth isn’t a problem. After all, these teeth are going to fall out anyway, so why worry if they fall out earlier than scheduled? Well, the health of the baby teeth is just as important as the permanent teeth for obvious reasons as chewing, speech and aesthetics; as well as for the healthy growth and development of permanent teeth underneath.