As a devoted parent, you of course want your child to enjoy lifelong dental health. That’s exactly why you should take him or her to the dentist on or before their first birthday. The condition of a baby’s teeth are a good indicator of dental problems that may surface later in life. The time to know about those potential challenges is now, before they develop into long-term difficulties.
Why Baby Teeth Matter
Some well-meaning parents think that baby teeth are less important than permanent ones. In reality, your child’s initial teeth act as “placeholders” for the permanent versions. If they’re misaligned or fall out too early, then the child may need braces later in life. It’s always good to know about these possibilities ahead of time so you can plan for them.
It’s Never Too Early to Make Sure
Oral health problems can start at any age. Sometimes symptoms go unnoticed until the condition becomes serious. Only a medical or dental professional can spot these warning signs. That’s another reason to take your child to the dentist by their first birthday, both from an abundance of caution and for your peace of mind.
Familiarity Fosters Trust
Millions of Americans never get the dental care they need because of dentist-related phobias. The best way to prevent your child from developing these fears is to introduce him or her to your dentist early in life. That way, he or she will know that the office is staffed by caring, compassionate professionals whose utmost priority is their patient’s well-being.
It Pays to Learn from a Professional
The tooth decay process begins as soon as the first teeth appear. Yet most children are unable to brush for themselves until they’re around six years old. Your dentist can show you ways to care for their teeth until they’re able to take over the task for themselves.
Raising Sugar-Free Children
Brushing, flossing, and seeing your family dentist on a regular basis are important for protecting your child’s teeth. But you may be undermining your efforts if you don’t also encourage your family to stay away from sugar.
Eliminating sugar from your child’s diet entirely is neither wise nor advised. But there are steps you can take to minimize the role this simple sweetener plays in his or her dietary habits. They include:
- Reading ingredient labels. Food manufacturers are notorious for sneaking sugar into “healthy” products like fruit juices or low-fat snacks.
- Starting sound nutritional habits early. When it comes to food preferences, human beings are creatures of habit. Put another way, we don’t eat what we like; we like what we’re used to eating. That’s why it makes sense to start your children on a low-sugar diet while they’re still quite young.
Successful parenting is all about planting the seeds of success as early as possible. By fostering good dental care habits in your children while they’re little, you’ll help them to go through life with a smile on their faces.
About the Author
Dr. Joseph Sandberg has been practicing dentistry for more than 30 years. He earned his DMD degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and holds mastership status with the Academy of General Dentistry. You can reach his office online or by calling (856) 596-4333.