Developing a healthy lifestyle begins in childhood. And though visiting a kid’s dentist might not be the first thing you think of in terms of healthy habits to teach your children, it should certainly be among the top priorities.
Because the truth is, between 60 and 90 percent of school-aged children have at least one cavity. One cavity might not seem like a big deal, but poor dental hygiene can lead to a myriad of health problems, from gingivitis to heart disease.
As a parent, it’s okay to not have all the answers. Your pediatric dentist is there to answer any questions you might have!
If you’re preparing for your child’s first visit to the dentist, you’ve come to the right place. Listed below are a few excellent questions to ask your children’s dentist to help you care for their teeth the right way.
Keep reading to learn more.
- What Will Happen During the Visit?
Dentist visits can be an anxiety-inducing experience for adults who have been going for years. It only makes sense that it can be even more frightening for children. Knowing what to expect will help you to prepare your child for the visit.
The events of the appointment will depend on your child’s age, anxiety level, and the specific dental concerns that you have as a parent. Discuss these with your dentist beforehand, then explain the details to your child in a calm, upbeat manner.
- Do Baby Teeth Matter?
Since baby teeth are going to fall out regardless, does caring for them really matter? The short answer is – yes, absolutely. Primary, or baby, teeth guide adult teeth into their correct positions.
And because primary teeth are present during crucial developmental years, they have a major impact on speech and chewing, even the structure of your child’s face and jaw. In addition, learning proper dental care early will promote healthy habits in adulthood.
- How Often Should My Child Go to the Dentist?
As an adult, you know that your dentist recommends biannual visits to ensure that your teeth are in healthy condition. The same goes for your children!
Looking after your children’s teeth to the best of your ability means scheduling pediatric dentist visits twice a year. In doing so, the dentist will be able to catch cavities and other problems early, making treatment easier and often less expensive.
If you haven’t yet chosen a dentist for your children, a simple online search for “pediatric dentist near me” will reveal a variety of options. Take your time, look at the reviews, and ask other parents for recommendations before making your choice.
- Should Thumb Sucking Be Discouraged?
Thumb sucking, along with bottle drinking and using a pacifier, is a soothing activity common among young children. Now, there’s nothing wrong with an infant or young toddler participating in these activities. However, if you let it go on for too long, you risk your child developing a misaligned jaw or a speech impairment.
Most children will stop this habit on their own between the ages of 2 and 4. If you notice that the habit seems to be persisting, have a conversation with your child about it. Tell them why it’s harmful, then help them to stop by monitoring the behavior in a calm and kind manner.
- What Are the Brushing Guidelines for Children?
Though it’s inadvisable to start brushing your child’s teeth with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste right away, you should practice appropriate care for your child’s age group.
Dental hygiene should begin as soon as your child’s first tooth comes in. At this point, wiping the tooth with a washcloth or dental wipe is enough.
Once your baby is old enough to understand the concept of brushing teeth, you can switch to a training toothpaste and child’s toothbrush. Around age 4, they should become comfortable with spitting the toothpaste out after brushing. You can then make the switch to regular fluoride toothpaste.
- When is the First Dental X-Ray Recommended?
Unless there’s been an injury or some sort of trauma to the mouth, your child won’t need dental x-rays on their first visit. Around age 7, your children’s dentist will probably recommend regular x-rays to ensure that dental development is progressing as it should.
X-rays can also help pinpoint any problem areas, allowing for early intervention. Don’t worry, x-rays are perfectly safe and only used to help the dentist see things that aren’t visible to the naked eye.
- Should Loose Teeth Be Pulled?
Eventually, your child’s baby teeth will begin to fall out to be replaced by adult teeth. As you know, this leads to loose teeth that can be tempting to pull.
However, it’s better to allow baby teeth to fall out on their own. Pulling them out yourself can cause damage to the sensitive tissue surrounding the tooth.
- What Should I Do If My Child Has a Toothache?
If and when your child gets a toothache, it’s a good idea to set an appointment with your dentist right away. It could be nothing, but it could also be a symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
In the meantime, help them rinse their mouth with warm saltwater and use a cold compress to relieve any swelling. If pain persists, give an appropriate pain reliever, but don’t use aspirin directly on the teeth or gums.
Get the Most Out of Your Trip to Your Kid’s Dentist
Your first appointment with your kid’s dentist can be a stressful experience for both you and your child. By knowing what to expect and having a list of questions prepared beforehand, you can remove a lot of the anxiety from the situation.
It’s never too early to start teaching your child about oral hygiene. Making dentist visits a regular thing in childhood will make this healthy habit second nature later in life.
Interested in learning more about protecting your children’s health? Take a look at our blog!