Most people get their teeth checked once or twice a year. Those that don’t eventually end up in emergency appointments, often after agonizing pain and discomfort. You certainly don’t want your children to end up like that.
Your child’s first tooth could start to appear in the center of his lower jaw at around four months old, or even earlier. By the time he is three years old, he should have all 20 baby teeth. When he gets close to six, his permanent teeth may be starting to grow and push out the baby teeth ahead of them. Between the ages of about six and 21, he will develop a total of at least 28 teeth – a whole mouthful of adult teeth.
An early appointment with a pediatric dentist in Jupiter, FL to examine the child’s mouth once the first tooth has arrived is a good idea. Even before the rest of the baby teeth arrive, the dentist can predict if any problems are likely to arise, and give you guidance on what to do about them, or on how to keep the teeth healthy.
A pediatric dental office will not just have a sterile waiting room where you can feel the tension and hear a pin drop. You’ll find an environment that makes the visit fun with attractive toys and activities that make waiting time fly by. All the staff will be specially trained to keep your children happy and comfortable. When it is all over and you leave, don’t be surprised if your children are keen to know when the next visit is due.
If you are taking older boys or girls on a first visit to a dentist, you need to talk to them about it before you arrive. Tell them the dentist is a friend who will help them take care of their teeth. Say that the dentist will clean their teeth with a special toothbrush that might tickle a bit, and will take some pictures of the inside of their gums that will show all the roots of the teeth. Never talk about whether it will hurt or not, as this will only cause them to wonder and worry. Just say that the dentist will be as gentle as possible.
If a pediatric practice is out of the question, ask your own dentist for advice about your children’s teeth, and when you should have them checked. Any dentist can advise on oral hygiene for your children.
It is really important to supervise their teeth cleaning in the morning and again before bed. Find the right toothbrushes; small, with really soft bristles for tinies, graduating into larger sizes as they grow. Make sure you also have appropriate toothpaste. That means checking the fluoride levels and ensuring around 1000 parts per million for any child under three, graduating to 1350-1500 parts per million for those between three and six. After their seventh birthdays, they can use the same toothpaste as you.
Start them off by doing the cleaning for them. Squeeze out just as much toothpaste as the size of a pea and brush all the areas of teeth and gums carefully, back and front, using a circular movement for a total of two minutes. Teach them to spit afterwards, rather than swallowing the toothpaste. Although, a little is not harmful, swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause discoloration problems later.
They’ll soon want to clean their teeth themselves, but you still need to supervise and make sure it’s done properly. Then remember to tell them how great they're doing and how proud you are of them. This is the way to set healthy dental habits for life.
Save sweets and chocolate for special treats and dole them out sparingly. A balanced diet that includes cheese, milk and yogurt for the calcium they need, plus plenty of fruit and vegetables will help their teeth, as well as help their overall health. Don’t brush teeth too soon after drinking juice or eating citrus fruits, because the acid in them softens the tooth enamel, so you need to wait about an hour for this effect to wear off.
Following these guidelines as closely as possible will set the standards of oral care that your children will live with. Cleaning their teeth properly at least twice a day will remove all the deposits that will decay tooth enamel if left there too long. It is the surest way for your family to have problem-free teeth in all the years to come.