When should a child go to the dentist? At the appearance of their first tooth, children should begin having regular dental checkups. Though first teeth, also known as baby teeth, are not permanent, they set the groundwork for the teeth that will come in later in life. Developing good dental hygiene habits at a young age helps promote healthy teeth and gums for life. Here’s what we recommend for parents of small children who are just learning how to care for their teeth.
When Should a Child Go to the Dentist? Caring for Infant Teeth
When your child’s first tooth pops through, we recommend a trip to Lovett Dental for pediatric dentistry services. During this initial appointment, you’ll learn how to care for infant teeth and gums to keep them strong and healthy. When permanent teeth come in, usually around the age of seven years, they’ll need healthy gums and a mouth free of dental caries to look and feel their best. Therefore, it’s good to learn best practices early. Once you know how to take care of your child’s teeth, you can help them develop good habits for life.
To care for infant teeth and gums, use fluoride toothpaste and a special brush made just for infants. Place only a small amount of toothpaste on the brush — no bigger than the size of a grain of rice. Later, as your child becomes a toddler, you can increase the amount of toothpaste used. Generally, you’ll want to brush baby teeth twice a day unless instructed otherwise by your dentist.
Fluoride is important, even for babies, because it helps strengthen the enamel of teeth that have already erupted. When taken in water or as a dietary supplement, it helps strengthen teeth even under the gums. Before including fluoride in your baby’s oral hygiene routine, speak with your Lovett Dental professional about fluoride recommendations for infants.
When Should a Child Go to the Dentist? Promoting Healthy Toddler Teeth
As your infant becomes a toddler, it’s safe to increase the amount of fluoride used in daily brushing. In general, this means increasing it from the size of a rice grain to the size of a pea. Teach children to spit the toothpaste out afterward. At this age, it’s also time to teach your child how to care for his or her own teeth. Your toddler’s teeth need flossing and brushing just like your teeth. With good oral hygiene habits, your child will have a decreased risk of developing cavities. It’s also important to maintain regular dental cleaning appointments throughout the toddler years. During these appointments, your Lovett Dental professional can find and diagnose any issues before they turn into painful toothaches.
As Permanent Teeth Erupt
Around the age of seven years, your child’s baby teeth will loosen and fall out to make room for permanent teeth. If they’ve followed a healthy dental hygiene regimen from infancy, they’ll have a solid foundation for permanent teeth to thrive. When should a child go to the dentist? At least twice a year throughout their childhood and into adulthood. Once most permanent teeth have erupted, your child may also need orthodontic care, such as braces, to help straighten and improve the appearance of their teeth. Building healthy habits early on can help set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Finally, if your child experiences a dental emergency, such as a knocked-out adult tooth or trauma to the mouth, they should see a dentist as soon as possible.
Caring for teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment, and Lovett Dental can help. We’ll be there for your child from infancy on, always available when you need us. Contact us today at 832.780.4573 to schedule your first appointment.