Regular check-ups and dental cleanings for your child are an important part of his or her preventive health care. Having regular visits with the dentist not only helps to establish good oral hygiene at an early age but also helps Dr. Reece detect any Pediatric Dental Issues early on before they become worse.
Scheduling Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that a child’s first dental appointment occur by the age of 1, or within 6 months of the first tooth eruption. This first visit will allow you to introduce your child to our Kearney family dental office in a comfortable and relaxing manner. We strive to make our office a welcoming place for kids, so if treatment is required, we can make your child’s first dental visit a positive one.
If parents have a particular concern about their child’s oral health, they should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with Dr. Reece. It is better not to procrastinate until your baby has a dental emergency or wait for other milestones like when your child is ready to start school.
Your Child’s First Dental Checkup
The most important part of your child’s first dental visit is ensuring your child’s comfort. As long as the child feels comfortable, the visit stays positive.
During the dental exam, Dr. Reece will check your child’s existing teeth for decay, examine your child’s bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw, or signs of oral health issues. If indicated, our hygienist will clean any teeth and assess the need for fluoride treatment.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans, rivers, and lakes. It is also added to some community tap water, toothpaste, and mouth rinses.
Infants and toddlers who do not receive an adequate amount of fluoride may be at an increased risk for tooth decay since fluoride:
helps make tooth enamel more resistant to decay
helps repair weakened enamel
makes teeth stronger
Bottled water may not contain fluoride; therefore, children who regularly drink bottled water or non-fluoridated tap water may miss out on all the benefits of fluoride. If you are unsure whether your tap water has fluoride, contact your local or state health department or water supplier.
Discuss your child’s fluoride needs with Dr. Reece or your pediatrician. They may recommend a fluoride supplement if you live in an area where the community water is not fluoridated.
Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth
It is important to start cleaning your child’s mouth and gums a few days after birth by gently wiping their gums with clean, wet gauze, or washcloth.
Similarly, teeth should be cleaned as soon as they start to erupt. Use a child-sized toothbrush and a smear-sized (the size of a grain of rice) amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth twice a day, morning and night. As soon as your child has two teeth that can touch, you should begin cleaning between their teeth daily.
For a child 3 years or up, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Continue to brush your child’s teeth two times a day until you are confident that your child can do it alone. Of course, supervise your child’s brushing to ensure the use of an appropriate amount of toothpaste and that toothpaste isn’t swallowed.
Importance of Regular Check-Ups and Dental Cleanings for Your Child
It is important for your child to have regular dental check-ups every 6 months, so Dr. Reece can see if there are any changes to your child’s oral health. This way, if there are any issues, they will be detected early and it will be easier to address them.
Regular dental cleanings are also important for good oral hygiene. If your child doesn’t have good oral hygiene, bacteria can build up in the mouth and cause dental problems such as gingivitis, dental caries, staining, and even dental abscess.
Good Dental Hygiene
Good dental hygiene requires following a daily routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Sticking to this kind of routine will remove plaque from your child’s teeth, which is important because if not removed it combines with sugars to form acids that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
Most importantly, do not let your child go to bed without brushing their teeth. Make dental hygiene a part of your child’s bedtime routine.
Call Advanced Dentistry of Kearney at (308) 237-1311 to schedule regular check-ups and dental cleanings for your child.
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