The Importance of Early Dental Care for Kids

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Regular dental check-ups are important for every adult – but also for every child. In fact, the sooner kids receive dental checkups, the better. Early checkups mean healthier oral hygiene throughout a child’s life.

Early checkups:

  • Prevent cavities and tooth decay
  • Help children to chew easily
  • Help children to speak clearly
  • Help children to smile confidently
  • Lead to life-long healthy mouths

How Early Should a Child Visit the Dentist?

According to The American Dental Association as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should visit a dentist by the time they are a year old. Scheduled as a well-baby dental checkup, an early visit helps parents and caregivers learn how to care for children’s teeth, including encouraging children not to fall asleep drinking from a bottle, which leads to tooth decay. 

The dental hygiene tips dentists can offer include: 

  • Information on how to prevent cavities and what causes decay
  • The importance of encouraging kids to drink water, juice, or milk from a cup by age one, rather than using a bottle 
  • Discouraging on-demand night feeding after first teeth appear
  • How to brush small childrens’ teeth.

After all, for children, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the U.S., with up to 40% of entering kindergartners experiencing some form.

And, with dental health tied to the health of the entire body, making sure kids have the best in oral health habits and care at an early age is important for overall well being. 

Additionally, dentists can provide restorative services for children, from composite fillings, to crowns, pulp treatments, and tooth extractions. 

Caring for Kids’ Teeth

Good oral hygiene starts with the very first baby tooth. Although baby teeth fall out in a few years, these teeth are space holders for your child’s permanent teeth. And without good oral care, baby teeth can decay and cause problems such as:

  • Gum and tooth pain
  • Difficulty in eating and sleeping
  • Gum inflammation and disease
  • Self-consciousness when smiling or even talking

How to Help Your Child Maintain a Healthy Mouth

For healthy, strong gums and teeth, children’s teeth should be brushed twice a day when they’re babies, and kids should be taught to brush and floss twice a day on their own as they get older.

And, make sure your child receives enough fluoride. Provide some fluoride supplements if there isn’t enough in the water you drink, and make sure your child brushes using a toothpaste that includes fluoride. Using a gentle brush, in a size appropriate for a child’s mouth, is also important.

A healthy diet also leads to a healthy mouth: provide foods rich in vegetables and fruits, and low in sugary treats such as sodas and hard candy. 

And of course, start your child in the good habit of visiting the dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. 

Bring Your Child for a Visit

If you’re ready to bring your child for a visit to the dentist, reach out today! We’ll start your little one on a lifetime journey for good oral and overall health, and help you to keep your child smiling.