Being a first time mom often feels like taking a road trip with no GPS. While there’s bound to be joys and excitement along the way, being a new mom also comes with a lot of questions and even fears. Chances are you’ve spoken with your child’s pediatrician about every health concern under the sun, but what about oral health? Your baby may not visit a dentist yet, but your child’s dental health is definitely something you should have on your radar. Read on for some helpful tips that will help you give your baby a head start on great dental health.
Baby’s first tooth! Now what?
Ever since you brought her home she’s been growing so fast and now a tooth has finally appeared! While it may be too early to buy her her own little toothbrush and other oral health products, it’s certainly not too early to call the dentist. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you take your baby to the dentist about six months after that first tooth appears, so go ahead and call for an appointment as soon as her first little tooth sprouts.
When is it time to introduce oral health products?
From our own experiences in the dentist’s chair we have learned the importance of flossing and how it improves our gum health. In fact, brushing only really cleans about 70% of your teeth. Flossing cleans the other 30%. It’s time to start flossing your baby’s teeth once they have two teeth that touch. Of course when children start to use oral health products like floss and toothbrushes, they will need you to guide them. As they get older, you can teach them to take care of their own oral hygiene all by themselves. One of the best ways to do this is by setting a good example. If your child sees you flossing, they will want to do it too!
What about braces? I had them when I was little, will my child need them, too?
Fortunately, orthodontics is not something you will have to think about in your baby’s first years of life. It is, however, something to address by the time your little one is in elementary school. According to the American Dental Association as well as the American Association of Orthodontists, all children should be evaluated for orthodontics by the time they are seven years old.
Remember, setting a solid foundation for good oral health begins with that very first tooth. Children learn by watching you, so always set a good example by brushing and flossing yourself and keeping up with your regular dental visits. It’s also a great idea to consult your child’s dentist when you have any concerns about their oral health or questions about ways you can help them take care of their teeth. Being proactive about dental health will protect baby from preventable dental problems and keep her smile looking as beautiful as can be!