Every kid is different in how they develop, when they walk, talk, babble, and giggle. They have first words, first steps, first claps. These are all milestones to celebrate and look forward to. Getting their first tooth is also a huge milestone for our little ones, as well as their first trip to the dentist!
Cue the questions . . .
Once those cute little baby gums start to reveal teeth, our world as moms evolves just a little more, and so do the questions:
- When should they have their first dental checkup?
- What kind of dentist should they go to? Does it matter?
- Can my regular dentist see them, too?
- What can we do to support their tooth and gum health?
- What should we avoid doing that might cause permanent damage to their dental health?
- When do you need to start brushing their teeth?
- Or when should you let them begin to brush on their own?
5 tips to consider before taking your child to the dentist
The answer is to ask your dentist! To give you a head start, we turned to an expert, Dr. Aislen Y. Medina, D.D.S. She gave us a few tips on what parents need to know before taking their child to the dentist.
Start your kid’s dental exams early.
Visual exams can begin as early as age two. This is a good age to get your child accustomed to a dental visit and build up positive dental experiences.
Assist with brushing at least until they can tie their shoes independently.
A good rule of thumb is that your child shouldn’t be brushing his teeth on his own until he can tie his own shoes. While you may be able to allow your little one to brush her teeth and participate, parents should always follow up and brush her teeth to ensure it is done effectively. Kids may miss the hard-to-reach areas and leave food behind, which can lead to tooth decay.
Never use fear as a motivation.
Parents should always be encouraging and positive when it comes to visiting the dentist. You’re in a perfect position to help build trust in a professional whose main interest is your child’s dental health.
Use natural sugars as snacks, like fruit.
We know certain foods like candy, gummies, and fruit chews are appealing to kids, but they could lead to poor dental health. Avoid those artificial sugars and offer them snacks like fruit instead.
Brushing should be non-negotiable, like showering.
Build brushing into your daily routine. Prioritize it and make it fun. Always keep it as an expectation rather than a choice.
Dr. Aislen Medina has joined Dr. Kenneth Baker’s dental team. Together they have over 40 years of experience and they use the latest technology and surgical techniques in cosmetic, implants, and restorative dentistry. Dr. Medina also has her certification in oral and IV sedation and is able to perform advanced cases.