A Pediatric Dentistry Guide | For Parents Who Aren’t Dentists
As a parent, you’re already a nurse, chef, housekeeper, entertainer, and the beholder of the snacks. We don’t think you need to add dentist to the list… that would just be exhausting! Therefore, we’ve put together this pediatric dentistry guide to help you figure out what dental steps and procedures your child needs at different ages to establish great oral health care in the long run.
• The First Tooth
0-1 Years: First Dental Visit
Your child should have their first dental visit within six months of their first tooth coming in, or by the age of one. Whichever of these comes first will determine when your child should have their first visit. It’s unlikely anything will happen at this first check-up, but it’s important these first few assessments are made and a relationship is established between your child and their pediatric dentist, who will be caring for them long term.
This will not only promote positive oral health routines but also allow your child to feel comfortable going to the dentist.
• Forming Good Habits
2-6 Years: Begin Flossing
As soon as your child has two teeth next to each other, which typically happens between the ages of two and six, they should begin flossing. Flossing is important to get rid of plaque that forms between teeth and along the gum line. Flossing daily prevents gum disease and tooth loss. Your child will not have the dexterity to properly floss themselves until around age seven, so you should do it for them until that point. As they practice flossing, their hygienic personal development will improve.
• Preventative Measures
6 Years: Sealants
Sealants are placed as soon as the six-year-old molars erupt. Molars have pits and grooves that bacteria can hide in and cause cavities. In addition to those grooves and pits increasing the chance of cavities, teeth are more susceptible to cavities when they first erupt. Placing sealants is a preventative measure to reduce the chance of those cavities.
• Swish & Swash
7 Years: Mouth Washing
The use of fluoride mouthwash is recommended for children ages seven and older. Regular use of a fluoride mouthwash provides additional protection against tooth decay, and helps kill bacteria that cause bad breath. Remember, mouthwash is a rinse and should be spit back out! Fill a cup with a small amount of water, have your child rinse and spit the water back out into the cup. As a rule, if they could spit all the water out, then they are ready to use mouthwash.
• Add Some Bling
7+ You’re Never Too Old For a Beautiful Smile: Orthodontics
Children should start seeing an orthodontist around the age of seven, or once their permanent teeth start coming in. At this age, issues such as uneven bite and overcrowding start becoming an issue. Starting the process early will allow the orthodontist to find any problems that exist, and decide on the best course of treatment. A beautiful, healthy smile is one of the most important investments you can make, no matter what age you are!
Set goals to help your child develop a good dental care routine, especially if braces are needed. Don’t leave room for your child to develop a bad habit like going to bed without caring for their teeth.
• Circle Back Around
12 Years: Sealants
Now that the 12-year-old molars are beginning to erupt, it is recommended that parents ensure that sealant are in place to protect the newly erupting molars from housing bacteria that can cause cavities. Properly cared for sealants can protect teeth for up to 10 years! Regular dental care visits allow our dentists to check for cracks. Damaged sealants allow bacteria to touch the surface of the tooth. If a sealant becomes damaged, we can fix them as problems may arise.
If you have more questions about pediatric dentistry, or orthodontics, we would love to help you learn more. Contact us today for your appointment! Snodgrass-King has pediatric dental offices in Franklin, Hermitage, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, and Mt. Juliet, Tennesee. We care for your children’s teeth from age zero through adulthood. In case you don’t know, but our dental practice serves adults too! Your entire family is welcome to receive dental care at our multi-specialty dental practice.
p.s. Don’t forget to see your pediatric dentist once every 6 months for a routine cleaning!