Family Dentistry - All You Need to Know
Updated: Feb 17
Many parents don't know when is the ideal time for their children to start their dental hygiene routine and also have doubts about when is the right time for their children to visit the dentist for the first time.
If you are one of them, in this article we are going to clear up your doubts, but first we will give you a clue: it is sooner than you think!
Basics of oral hygiene
First of all, it should be taken into account that oral hygiene is based on basic care to maintain good health in the oral cavity. Ideally, this care should be seen as a means to prevent any disease that may affect the teeth or gums, so it is very important that parents instil it in their children from an early age.
Among the basic care we can mention:
● Tooth brushing.
● Use of dental floss.
● Visiting the dentist regularly.
It is recommended that children brush their teeth upon waking up, after every meal and before going to bed, using a fluoride toothpaste since this compound strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay.
Brushing time should be approximately 2 minutes. In the case of very young children, who have difficulty keeping their mouths open for such a long time, their parents may choose to take breaks every 10 seconds.
Many child dentists, known as pediatric dentists, recommend that once the baby teeth grow in (the first tooth appears in the mouth around 6 months after birth), brushing should begin.
It is also necessary for parents to help their children brush their teeth until they are approximately 8 years old, since when they are young they do not have the necessary motor skills to do it correctly on their own.
Dental floss is the ideal complement to enhance tooth brushing, so children should start using it when teeth from the same arch come into contact. Preferably, dental floss should be used after every meal or, at least, before the child goes to sleep.
The importance of imparting healthy lifestyle habits.
It is equally important for parents to instil in their children healthy lifestyle habits that complement the oral hygiene routine, and the sooner they learn them and incorporate them into their lives, the better.
First, they should maintain a diet low in refined sugars, as these are used by bacteria in the mouth to create acids that damage tooth enamel. And when a child has a diet high in sugars, the probability of suffering tooth decay increases considerably.
Importantly, the World Health Organisation recommends that children under 2 years of age should preferably not consume sugar. This means that products such as candies, sweets, sweetened juices, etc., should be avoided or, failing that, their consumption should be reduced as much as possible.
You may wonder why at that age? When children are between 1 and 2 years old, they begin to develop their eating habits, so it is preferable that they do not create a dependency on sugar.
Dentists also recommend avoiding very acidic foods because they can erode the enamel, which increases sensitivity.
As parents we should not forget that children learn by imitation, so it is necessary for them to observe that we take care of our teeth and maintain a balanced diet low in sugar.
Another essential habit is to visit the dentist periodically, preferably for a routine evaluation for preventive purposes.
When should children go to the dentist?
Some parents believe that it is only necessary for their children to visit the dentist when they have a toothache, and this is a serious mistake. Ideally, they should go to check the condition of their teeth, gums and other structures that make up the mouth, regardless of whether or not they are in pain.
In addition to the kids' dental check-up, the dentist can perform preventive procedures such as a deep cleaning to remove tartar deposits and the application of fluoride to remineralise the enamel and strengthen it.
When children have regular dental checkups, this can prevent the development of any oral disease or avoid its complication and progression if it is already established.
When oral diseases such as tooth decay are detected early, the procedures that the professional performs to treat them will be less invasive and traumatic than if they are detected at a more advanced stage.
This last point is very important to bear in mind, especially when it comes to children, which brings us to another essential factor: in order for them not to be reluctant to go to the dentist's office and to have a cooperative and positive attitude, it is essential that they have a good image of the dentist.
This means that adults should avoid transmitting their fears or anxiety towards the dentist, and much less use the dentist to create fear in the child. We do not want the child to develop a wrong perception of what will happen at the dentist's office, which could be detrimental to their oral health if this persists over time.
It is advisable to visit a good dentist for kids twice a year, although this will also depend on the conditions and needs of each child.
When should children visit the dentist for the first time?
The right time is just after the appearance of the first tooth in the mouth, which as we have mentioned usually occurs from 6-7 months of age but can occur months before or after, remember that each child is different.
We understand that it may seem a bit hasty, but it is important to evaluate aspects such as the chronology of the eruption of the teeth, their position, location and appearance and also the state of the gums, tongue, palate, etc.
In addition, the sooner the child goes to the dentist, the better they will adapt to the dental office, develop a bond of trust with the professional and learn the importance of taking care of their teeth from an early age.
Another factor to take into account is that when the baby starts complementary feeding (taking foods other than breast milk or formula) the need for check-ups is greater, since carbohydrates are usually introduced into the diet and some of them are simple sugars.
On the other hand, dental care and visits to the dentist should be reinforced with the arrival of permanent teeth. These begin to erupt at approximately 6 years of age, starting with the first permanent molars, which are located behind the baby teeth molars.
It is said that care should be reinforced since these are the teeth that will accompany the child (and later the adult) throughout their life, so oral hygiene should be a priority in their daily routine.
So... are baby teeth important?
By the way, this does not mean that baby teeth are less important than permanent teeth! Among their functions is to allow chewing of food, phonation of words and to maintain the space for the arrival of the permanent teeth.
We hope that you have clarified your doubts and that you now have more knowledge and tools that will allow you to take proper care of your children's oral health.
Also, keep in mind that when it comes to the oral health of the little ones it is preferable to go to a dentist for kids, since they have the necessary tools to perform the procedures without being a traumatic event for the children, and also have the necessary knowledge and skills to adapt them to the practice so that they have a positive experience.
If you are looking for a child dentist in Perth WA, you can be sure that there are a wide variety of specialists in the city to offer you and your kid the best dental service tailored to their needs and age. Dentista Dental Centre will look after your child's teeth, servicing Noranda, Morley, Dianella, Beechboro, Malaga, Bayswater, Mt Lawley and Bedford