When you think about taking your child to the dentist for the first time, you probably think about scheduling an appointment before their first day of preschool to check for cavities and tooth and jaw development. However, young children should visit their local dentist much sooner than the age of four or five.
In fact,we recommend that children first visit a pediatric dentist no later than six months after the first tooth emerges from the gum, or by the age of seven. From that first appointment, young children should visit their pediatric dentist every six to 12 months in order to ensure the teeth and jaw are healthy and developing correctly. Otherwise, they could experience some major complications.
Parent’s Role In Tooth Development
As a parent, it’s only natural to want the best for your child. Unfortunately, in today’s busy society, many parents aren’t aware that the foods and drinks they give their children can contribute to cavities and tooth decay. Doing your research before you head to the grocery store could prevent you from choosing sugar-filled snacks and treats. Picking up easy, to-go snacks might sound like a simple solution to curb appetite till lunch or dinner, but snacks like nuts, pretzels, and even dried fruit can cause a cracked or chipped tooth.
Being proactive about preventative dentistry and establishing a morning and nighttime oral health routine can create healthy habits from a young age. When you wake up, a thin, slippery film forms over your teeth, this is known as a biofilm. While biofilm is normal, and almost everyone has experienced it upon waking up, this slimy substance can create dental plaque quickly in children if left on for a prolonged period of time. Be sure to monitor your child’s oral health routine until they are old enough to brush properly and reach all the nooks and crannies.
Habits That Could Be Harming Your Child
Thumb sucking is a habit that many children do when they are young. While you may think that they will eventually grow out of it, it’s best to deter thumb sucking early on. Typically, thumb sucking is something your child might start doing around six or seven months and can last till they are about two to four years old. It’s best to stop this habit before they turn one to ensure they don’t develop protruding teeth or an overbite. Pacifiers can also leave your child with protruding teeth, it’s best to limit your child’s pacifier use around the age of two and completely eliminating it when they turn four. Young children should visit their local dentist much sooner than the age of four or five.
Food and Drinks That Contribute to Pediatric Dental Problems
We aren’t saying you should completely cut out certain foods and drinks to protect your child’s teeth, but you should be limiting the consumption or amount of times your child eats or drinks the following:
- Sour or Hard Candy
- Sugar-Filled Juices
- Bread Or Heavy Starches
- Potato Chips
By limiting the amount of sugar your child consumes, you can ensure that they aren’t doing harm to their bodies and teeth. You can opt for healthier snacks that will prevent your child from getting cracked or chipped teeth, tooth decay, or the need for dental extractions like:
- Leafy Greens
Preventing Tooth Problems in Pre-K and Beyond with Valderrama Orthodontics
If you wish to help your child avoid problems down the road, it’s extremely important to schedule your child’s first visit after their first tooth emerges. From that point forward, we recommend scheduling pediatric dental appointments every six months to help keep your child’s teeth clean and to make sure his or her jaw is developing correctly.
Once your child turns seven, it’s important to schedule an appointment with our orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama to evaluate your child’s growth and development and to make sure that the eruption of the permanent dentition is going well. This is especially important if you’ve noticed crooked teeth, crossbites or a protruding upper or lower jaw. Also, if your child has a habit like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting or if you notice mouth breathing, clenching and snoring. With early treatment and orthodontic intervention, your child may be able to avoid braces. It can also reduce the amount of time they have to wear braces or invisible aligners to straighten their teeth and correct jaw alignment problems.
To schedule your child’s first appointment with our orthodontist, Dr. Valderrama at our Suntree/Viera office, contact us online or give us a call at 321-425-5050 today!