Your Child’s First Dental Visit
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your child should visit the dentist by his/her 1st birthday. You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. Your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions.
It is best if you refrain from using words around would child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, shot, pull, drill or hurt. Pediatric dental offices make a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
What is Early Childhood Caries?
Early Childhood Caries is a serious form of decay among young children often called “baby bottle decay”, “nursing caries”, or “sippy cup decay”. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. Diluting juices or milk is not recommended. Babies that are breastfed are susceptible to early childhood caries too. Extended (beyond 12 months), and on demand nursing, constantly bathe the teeth in a sugary acidic solution.
After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily.