Teaching children about good dental health is the key to ensuring proper oral hygiene throughout their lives. After all, we only get one set of adult teeth—this makes it essential that children are adequately equipped to care for them. This guide to paediatric dentistry will ensure you are well-prepared to promote healthy dental habits in your child.
The First Appointment
Your child’s first dentist appointment is where they will establish trust with their dentist, which is why Dr Olstein makes an effort to welcome children into a relaxing and non-intimidating environment. We want children to be excited to visit the dentist.
A child’s first checkup should occur at the age of three to four. However, Dr Olstein encourages parents to bring children under the age of three along to their appointments. This way, so children can become used to the new environment. Even if their teeth haven’t properly grown in yet, it is important to introduce your kids to the dentist as early as possible. The earlier the introduction, the more likely it is that they will be comfortable with the idea of a dentist appointment.
As a parent, this appointment can also be a useful opportunity to learn more about dental care and how to introduce your children to the routine of flossing and brushing their teeth. Dr Olstein and our wonderful team are here to ensure that your child always feel comfortable going to the dentist.
Establishing a Routine
Establishing a dental routine for your child is extremely important. This will promote good oral hygiene throughout the rest of their life.
Many parents believe that brushing doesn’t matter until adult teeth grow through, but this is false for many reasons. By teaching children good brushing and flossing habits when they are young, it becomes easier to encourage this good behaviour in the future.
Maintaining the health of baby teeth is very important in the development of adult teeth too. It will help prevent infection and promote proper growth, reducing the need for straightening (via braces and orthodontics) down the track.
Baby teeth begin to grow at different stages depending on your child. Usually, they begin to emerge between six and twelve months of age. There are several different signs children may show when teething. For instance, you may notice that they’re grizzlier and rubbing their cheeks more often.
Before baby teeth begin to erupt you should also be wary of creating a dependency on pacifiers and teething rings. Prolonged pacifier use can create bad habits and cause teeth to grow through improperly, which can lead to orthodontic work later on. Dirty pacifiers can also lead to a growth of bacteria in your child’s mouth that can lead to infections and other problems.
Once your child’s teeth start to emerge you should start cleaning them straight away. To do so, use a baby toothbrush and only use water or an appropriate child’s toothpaste before breakfast and before bed.
To encourage healthy brushing and flossing habits, get your child involved in the process as soon as possible. Let them hold the brush and mimic the action. The more that they are involved, the more entrenched these health dental habits will become in their daily routine.
Eating a healthy diet is important in your child’s overall health. It is also the cornerstone of oral health. Limiting food and drinks that are high in sugar, such has flavoured milk, juice and dried fruit, will help avoid cavities and decay.
Milk can also be a common cause of problems, and it’s important to be careful about when you give your baby a bottle. Settling your baby with a bottle can allow milk to settle on the teeth and gums overnight, which could lead to a build-up of plaque.
Kids do deserve treats every now and then though, and teaching moderation is better than completely abstaining. Try to give kids treats at mealtimes with water. Water can help wash away decay-causing sugars.
Dealing with Dentist Anxiety
If your children experience anxiety or fear at the dentist, it can be difficult for you as a parent. That’s why we encourage building a positive relationship with a dentist early on. If this hasn’t been possible, or if you’ve previously had a bad experience with a dentist you should discuss any possible concerns with Dr Olstein or a member of our team beforehand, rather than simply hoping for the best.
Dental anxiety is a common problem among many children, so an open and honest discussion with your dentist is extremely important. This can lead to important modifications in the treatment plan including alternative non-invasive procedures or slowing down the treatment.
We provide several things that make our practice perfect paediatric dentist, including the following:
- Expert knowledge and experience
- Comfort and care for patients, including the option of sleep dentistry
- Specifically tailored treatment plans
- A warm and caring environment
Paediatric dentistry can be the key to setting up healthy habits for dental care that will set your child up for life, so it’s important you’re informed and well-equipped to promote proper dental care when your child is still young. Following this guide to paediatric dentistry is a great start.