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It’s Never Too Early to Prepare Your Children for Dental Care
Teething is considered one of the very first rituals of human beings. Even though babies don’t have teeth yet, their teeth begin to appear at about six months of age. In the first few years of life, all 20 baby teeth will erupt through the gums, and by age 3, most children will have a full set of teeth. By the time a baby is about 6 months old, the four front teeth often erupt through the gums – although some children only have their first teeth at 12 to 14 months.
When teething begins, some babies become irritable, fussy, sleepless, drool more often, or lose their appetite. When babies are teething, they usually don’t have diarrhea, fever or rashes. So in case they are experiencing these symptoms and continue to be irritable and uncomfortable, consult your doctor.
First Visit to the Dentist
Once your child’s first tooth appears, schedule a doctor’s visit. According to the ADA, the first dental visit should occur within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, and not after the first birthday. Don’t postpone it until school starts or when there is a problem.
Teach your child to be comfortable with good dental habits. Usually, during the first visit, the dentist will just examine your child’s mouth to check the development of the teeth, and also make your child feel comfortable. To make dental visits more enjoyable:
Make a daytime appointment so that the children are well rested and cooperative.
Keep your worries to yourself. Children can easily sense your emotions, so emphasize the positive aspects.
Never use a dental visit to punish/threaten your child.
Never use a dental visit as a bribe.
Talk positively to your child about going to the dentist.
At your dentist visit, expect the dentist to:
Examine for oral or cavity problems;
Reveal if there is any risk of developing tooth decay;
Cleans teeth and advises on daily care;
Talk about teething, using a pacifier or thumb sucking habit;
Discuss the necessary treatments and schedule the next one.
The mineral fluorine occurs naturally in all water sources, including lakes, oceans and rivers. Sometimes, it is also included in toothpaste, mouthwash and some community tap water. Babies, as well as young children who do not get enough fluoride may be more prone to tooth decay because fluoride protects the tooth enamel from it.
Fluoride also repairs weakened enamel. Since all bottled water is fluoridated, children who regularly drink this water or unfluoridated tap water do not enjoy its benefits. If in doubt about whether or not your tap water is fluoridated, ask your local/state health department or water supplier.
It is very common for babies and toddlers to suck their thumbs, fingers or pacifiers. When a pacifier is dipped in sweet foods such as honey, sugar and sweetened juices, it can cause tooth decay.
Tooth decay can also start when saliva and cavity-causing bacteria are passed from a mother or caregiver to the baby. Also, when one of them puts a feeding spoon or pacifier in their mouth, the bacteria can be transmitted to the baby.
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