Early, gentle care for children that supports a lifetime of healthy smiles
Early visits for a lifetime of happy smiles
Generally, it’s recommended that the first dental visit be scheduled no later than the baby’s first birthday. That may sound early to you, but the development of baby teeth is critical. They help to guide adult teeth into proper position. By delaying treatment, your child may lose a tooth prematurely. The adult tooth then grows crooked, and several complications may arise that require restorative and corrective care. Starting at the age of three, checkups will be scheduled at “standard,” six-month intervals.
Sometimes, these initial visits are just about getting your child comfortable with the office. A comfortable child becomes a confident adult who doesn’t fear the dentist. Fearful patients generally have higher disease and tooth loss rates than their counterparts who don’t have dental fear and apprehension. The dental team can also demonstrate ways for you to maintain your child’s health. These suggestions will evolve, but in those early years can include discussing how to modify habits that promote early childhood decay. For example, “baby bottle decay” is a commonly-used term to describe the acidic effects of sugary juice on developing teeth when babies are put to bed with a bottle full of these and other sugar-containing substances.
Sealants are plastic coatings, which may be applied to back teeth. This approach helps protect the health of the molars that are typically at greater risk of decay due to their grooved surfaces, trapping food, and the difficulty of brushing those hard-to-reach spaces. Over time, customized dental appliances may be tailored to your child to reduce the risks of damage to the teeth and jaws during head injuries.
Your child is one of a kind. So, specific recommendations are tailored to your child’s unique needs. All children, however, can benefit from:
- Brushing their teeth, gums, and tongue for at least two minutes every time, twice each day — Play a fun song or favorite video to pass the time.
- Flossing at least once a day — It doesn’t take a lot of force. In fact, aggressively snapping the floss can cause damage to delicate tissues.
- Drinking water and not sipping sugary drinks throughout the day — Sugars combine with bacteria in the mouth to produce harmful acids, which then bathe the teeth over a prolonged period.
- Encouraging your family to eat fruit — So-called “healthy” fruit juices and sports drinks often have deceptively high amounts of sugar. The food and drink that is good for your body and helps lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes is also good for your teeth. You can never promote good habits too soon!
Experience proactive and pediatric dentistry for all ages and all phases of life. Call us at 978-263-3526 to schedule an appointment. Our team is proud to serve patients throughout Littleton, West Concord, Concord, Maynard, Westford, Boxborough, Stow, Harvard, and Sudbury.
We look forward to meeting you and your family!