Prevention is the key to life-long health, and this includes your dental health. Parents can start preventing oral health issues from the time their babies are very young. The American Dental Association recommends that all parents bring their children in to the dentist’s office for their first visit by the time their children reach their first birthday. This is often surprising to parents because most of their 12-month olds do not have many teeth! However, bringing children in to the dentist from the very start allows them to prevent issues and promote optimal oral health.
The American Dental Association recommends that children be taken to the dentist by their first birthday for very specific reasons. Let’s read to find out:
Make visiting the dentist a natural experience. As adults, we understand that visiting the dentist on a regular basis (twice a year) is important for maintaining good oral health. When parents take their children into the dentist from the time they turn one, these children grow up understanding that visiting the dentist is “just something that you do.” This allows children to feel comfortable at the dentist’s office, alleviating and avoiding any fear or anxiety that often comes from older patients who did not grow up visiting the dentist.
Break bad habits early. Good parents do not intend to start bad habits for their children, but using a pacifier, falling asleep with a bottle or at the breast, and thumb sucking are all classified as bad habits once a child has reached one year of age. A young child’s mouth is still very pliable, and the jaw bones can be easily manipulated. Using a pacifier or sucking the thumb (or fingers) past twelve months will begin changing the shape of the mouth into an unwanted position. Breaking this habit as early as possible is very beneficial to the future of a child’s mouth. It is also important that parents understand that allowing their children to fall asleep drinking milk promotes tooth decay. Milk that sits on the teeth leaves sugar in the mouth and will quickly cause cavities.
Educate parents. It is important that parents understand how diet affects their children’s oral health. While juice, soda, and sweet tea are tasty beverages, they have no place in a child’s diet. These sugar-laden drinks can wreck havoc on a child’s teeth and should be avoided completely. Again, falling asleep with a bottle or breast is a habit that needs to be broken by a child’s first birthday. Children’s teeth should be brushed every night before bed, and children should not drink anything other than water after this time.
At Pacific Sky Dental we welcome patients of all ages into our dental practice. We are happy to serve young patients and offer prevention as the very first defense against tooth decay. Please call today to schedule an appointment for your child(ren)!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Raymond Jone, Pacific Sky Dental
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