It is a good idea to begin a regular dental regimen once a child reaches two years. Whether they still have baby teeth or are growing permanents, the state of the teeth throughout each stage of development is one of the most important aspects of a child’s overall health. Regular checkups allow parents to stay informed on their child’s dental health while also maintaining or improving the state of the teeth.
There are many benefits to taking a child in for regular pediatric dental checkups, and many of them last into adulthood.
1. A Clean Mouth
Regular dental care helps keep the mouth clean. This will involve removing built-up plaque and tartar as well as eliminating surface stains. Keeping the tooth surface free of stains and tartar prevents bacteria from sticking to the tooth. These same bacteria may cause cavities in the long run. Many young children are not able to properly brush their teeth, and trips to the dentist for professional cleanings are essential for getting the debris and buildup that they may miss.
2. Ensure Healthy Development of Teeth
Baby teeth are the starting ground for adult teeth. When baby teeth are healthy, it is easier for adult teeth to come in healthier and straighter. Neglecting to properly care for the baby teeth may cause them to fall out too soon, and this may cause the remaining teeth to move forward. When this happens, permanent teeth are more likely to grow in crooked and out of place.
Keeping healthy teeth is essential at all ages, but a healthy start makes maintenance much easier in the long run.
3. Prevent Decay
An essential part of having regular dental checkups is finding decay and cavities before they get worse. It is common for kids to eat the worst foods for their teeth while also slacking on regular brushing and flossing. Detecting cavities in baby teeth is vital, and these cavities are easier and quicker to treat early on. Easier treatment means less costs for the parent and less time spent in the dental office. Neglecting cavities allows them to grow and damage tooth structure further. Damaged teeth can lead to infections and advanced dental procedures such as fillings or even extractions.
4. Teach Ideal Dental Hygiene
Teaching kids how to properly care for their teeth will provide the knowledge and motivation to carry out effective dental hygiene throughout their lives. When parents explain the purpose of dental appointments, children learn the importance of seeing the dentist and scheduling regular checkups. A dental office may not initially seem inviting to a child, but with regular visits they get used to the process and feel more comfortable. In the office, the child is taught by professionals on the importance of a clean mouth and the best ways to brush and floss to keep it clean.
Parents should floss a child’s teeth until the age of ten between dental checkups. After this the child should be able to floss independently but may occasionally need guidance. A child’s toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months. Newer toothbrushes are better able to effectively clean teeth, and they possess less residual bacteria.
Tips for a Great Visit
- Don’t schedule an appointment during naptime. Instead, pick a time your child is usually well-rested and cooperative.
- Make sure your child has had a light meal and brushes their teeth before their appointment so they won’t be hungry during their visit.
- Save snacks for after the visit so they aren’t on your child’s teeth during the exam.
- Think of the appointment as a happy and fun experience. If your child becomes upset during the visit, work with your dentist to calm your child. You’re on the same team!