Experts recommend taking your child to see the dentist for the first time when their first tooth becomes visible or when they reach 12 months of age – whichever comes first. If your child has an accident or you are worried about the look of anything in their mouth, you should bring them as soon as you can. Otherwise, four years old is generally the time kids start to feel comfortable at the dentist and will let us have a look in their mouth.
They've Only Got Baby Teeth Though - Do They Really Need to Come to the Dentist?
We get asked this question all the time. It is logical to think that baby teeth aren't that important because they're going to fall out anyway. However, what a lot of people don't realise is that baby teeth are actually critical in preparing the mouth for healthy adult teeth.
The baby teeth are positioned in such a way that they allow the adult teeth to erupt into the correct position whilst they are still in the underlying jawbone. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the adult tooth can drift from its ideal position and get stuck against another tooth, preventing it from erupting into the mouth where it is supposed to be. Sometimes orthodontic intervention is required to drag the adult tooth back to where it needs to be.
Healthy baby teeth are also really important for enabling chewing, speech development, and good attitudes towards visiting the dentist. But from a child's point of view, a trip to the dentist can be a scary event. Dental anxiety is prevalent among children. It has been found that as many as 19.5% of school-age children are afraid of dentists. Sometimes this anxiety can last the rest of people's lives, which is why we want appointments for children to be as straightforward as possible!
How Do We Keep the Baby Teeth Healthy?
The first step is to keep them clean! Just like adult teeth, baby teeth need to be brushed twice a day with toothpaste. Up until the age of ten, it is a good idea to check that your child has cleaned their teeth adequately, especially the back ones as it is difficult to reach them. The second step is monitoring what they eat. We all know that added sugars, like those found in lollies and biscuits, can cause cavities in teeth. What many people don't know is that refined carbohydrates, such as white flour used in bread, can lead to dental decay as well. The key to avoiding cavities for kids is minimising these carbohydrates, as well as keeping set mealtimes. If kids snack between meals that is when they are more likely to develop decay.
The final step is taking your child to the dentist regularly! If any problems do develop then we can treat them early which is far easier for your child than leaving them until they are bigger. Six monthly check-ups and cleans keep the baby teeth healthy and strong and pave the way for a beautiful set of permanent teeth.
To book an appointment at Sailors Bay Dentistry please call (02) 9958 0400.