Pediatric dentists are dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. They have the experience and qualifications to care for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood.
Children begin to get their baby teeth during the first 6 months of life. By age 6 or 7 years, they start to lose their first set of teeth, which eventually are replaced by secondary, permanent teeth. Without proper dental care, children face possible oral decay and disease that can cause a lifetime of pain and complications. Today, early childhood dental caries—an infectious disease—is 5 times more common in children than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.
Good oral hygiene starts as early as infancy. Whether you’re nursing or bottle feeding, you should begin incorporating some type of dental hygiene regimen as soon as possible. Before any teeth erupt, wipe down the gums with gauze or a soft, wet washcloth. Once teeth begin to come in, keep them clean. Using the right set of tools is essential for this daily ritual. For example, it is important to purchase a toothbrush designed specifically for babies, which will have a much smaller head, for their tiny mouths.
If you have not done so already, make sure your child has his or her first dental visit by the time he or she turns one to two years of age. Your pediatric dentist will keep your child’s teeth healthy by removing plaque build-up and food debris that may be stuck in his teeth. This is an important part of dental care because it prevents bacteria from continuing to grow, which may eventually lead to other dental diseases (e.g. tooth decay or inflammation of the gum tissue). Make your regular visits to the pediatric dentist a fun adventure that always yields some type of tooth-friendly reward.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EARLY DENTAL VISITS?
Lots of parents wait too long to schedule a dental visit for young children, which can have negative consequences on a child’s dental and overall health.
It’s also very important to keep “baby teeth,” or primary teeth, in place until they are lost naturally. Children with healthy primary teeth generally have an easier time with speech development, chewing food and retaining nutrients. If the pediatric dentist finds that your child has a cavity, sealants and fluoride applications can protect teeth from additional decay.
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