Going to the dentist is not what most of us think of as a good time. As adults, we know it’s the responsible thing; a part of our commitment to a lifetime of good dental health. At Summer Kids Dental in Las Vegas, we understand the dentist can be scary for youngsters, and have built our dentistry around that simple fact.
Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease affecting children, according to a report by the United States Surgeon General. That makes early dental care all the more important. Experts agree that children should come in for their first dental checkup by their first birthday, or when their teeth begin coming in – whichever comes first.
The fear of cavities is not going to influence a lot of kids, especially if they’r at all apprehensive about the dentist. We think the best approach is to focus on the positive. If you think your child may have an issue with a tooth, explain that the dentist is there to fix it, and will keep their other teeth from having the same problem.
Modeling good behavior is one of the best ways to influence your child’s attitude about dental care. Some things to always do include:
- Always use fluoride toothpaste, even at an early age. The American Dental Association recently changed its guidelines to emphasize this. A drop the size of a grain of rice on a baby’s first tooth begins fluoridation.
- Always clean your child’s teeth and gums. There are tooth and gum wipes for infants, and they should be used daily. There is bacteria in the mouth, even before teeth come in.
- Use a good technique. On young teeth, brush gently in tiny circles with a soft-bristle brush, making sure to get the entire surface of each tooth, and along the gum line. Kids can be fussy about brushing, so in youngsters under five it’s okay to brush for about a minute, instead of the recommended two. Good technique is what really counts.
- Floss. Even in children’s teeth, flossing every day is critical. You should begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two that are touching each other.