Children shouldn’t have to be afraid of their Long Island pediatric dentist, but the unknown can be scary, particularly for a toddler. That is why it is essential to find a pediatric dentist who is both gentle and understanding, as well as provides children with a simple and comforting explanation for every technique and treatment they use.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should begin seeing a dentist as soon as their first teeth erupt. We recommend you bring your child in for their first visit by around age one to one and a half. Ensuring that they develop the right brushing and flossing habits and receive regular dental checkups from a young age will greatly reduce the occurrence of future cavities, gum disease, and other issues.
Understanding Teething and Baby Teeth
Primary teeth, more commonly called baby teeth, will typically come in starting at around age six months and will continue on and off until three years of age. This time can be difficult for both the child and parents as soreness of the gums can cause understandable crankiness in your little one. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the pain. Try running cold water over a washcloth and rubbing the cold cloth on the sore area. Teething rings, cold or not, can also be used. When all is said and done, your preschooler should have 20 primary teeth.
Baby teeth will typically become loose and fall out on their own with the first permanent tooth starting as early as five and a half. By 12 years old, all of your teeth are in except for the third molars (wisdom teeth) which erupt at around age 21. Once the wisdom teeth have erupted, the teeth total in the average adult will be 32.
Demonstrating and Encouraging Healthy Dental Hygiene
Proper dental hygiene starts at birth. From the very beginning, infants should have their gums gently rubbed by a warm cloth or a soft-bristle toothbrush to clean the area after feedings. Once the child’s teeth start to erupt, begin brushing the teeth a minimum of once per day and gradually increasing until your child is brushing after every meal. Check each tooth on a regular basis for signs of decay such as discoloration and, if you see anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment immediately.
Many babies and toddlers enjoy tooth brushing time. Most drug stores have infant and toddler toothbrushes that have fun colors and characters on them to make brushing a fun activity. Make sure that you continue to help your child with brushing until they have mastered the practice and are able to do so thoroughly without assistance.
Just like adults, children should floss as well. Flossing is a slightly more complicated aspect of dental hygiene and, if you are unsure how to properly teach flossing to your child, allow Dr. Diba to show you and your child at your next visit.
The Role of the Pediatric Dentist
Having healthy brushing and flossing habits are important, but they certainly don’t replace the need to visit the dentist on a regular basis. It is recommended that your child receive a dental cleaning and general checkup once every 6 months. Other common procedures might also include fluoride treatments to increase tooth strength as well as dental sealants which are used to prevent decay on the chewing surfaces of the teeth.