It is not admittedly something that most new parents think about, as their new baby is already likely to be bombarded with trips to see nurses, doctors and midwives.
But it is a common question that many new parents have; when should I take my baby to their first dental appointment? In more developed nations, there has been a rise in the number of young children and toddlers needing to have their baby teeth removed due to decay, so this is a question that is well worth knowing the answer to, in order to ensure that your baby’s oral health is maintained.
So, with that in mind, in this article 5 questions relating to the dental health of infants are answered to help you get a better idea of the best way to help your child’s oral wellbeing.
When should my baby attend their first dental check-up?
Your baby should have their first dental appointment by the time their first milk tooth erupts or by the time they are one year of age; whichever comes first. Be sure that you visit a family dental Coorparoo team, as they will be better equipped to assist in the care and the check-up required for a younger patient.
The first dental appointment will simply involve the dentist examining the eruption of the tooth, and checking that all of the other teeth are erupting at the correct angle, as well as giving you advice.
Is dental care important for baby teeth?
Many people assume that because baby teeth are temporary, they are not as important as adult teeth, however this is not the case. If your child loses their baby teeth due to decay and extraction too early, their adult teeth may come through misaligned as there were no placeholders for them, which is the role of baby teeth. So, yes, dental care is exceedingly important for baby teeth and most dental teams will aim to preserve as many baby teeth as possible minimising extraction when they can.
What should I give my baby to prevent dental issues?
When your baby starts teething, it’s important that you manage discomfort but also keep the teeth clean. You can do this by using baby-based toothpaste and a very small soft-bristled brush to remove plaque and bacteria from the surface of the tooth. As more teeth come through, you will need to up the cleaning regime and stay up to date with dental appointments.
Is milk an issue when teeth come through?
Yes, many people assume that it is perfectly safe to give a baby milk when the teeth begin to come through and will continue to give it to them when their baby goes for a nap or to bed. Milk contains sugar, also known as lactose, which has been linked to tooth decay. So, when your baby goes down for a nap or even your toddler, be sure to only give them water to drink.
I’m worried my baby has a cavity – what should I do?
If your baby or toddler has a cavity, then you need to get them seen as soon as possible by a dentist. In most cases, a cavity will need to be filled or your baby may need to have an extraction depending on the extent of the decay.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.