Primary Teeth and First Dental Checkup
Palo Alto, CA
A common question among most parents is when to begin dental care with their children. We hope that dental care began immediately with age-appropriate steps. We would like to see our youngest patients around their first birthday; this will help our team at Palo Alto Oral Health begin a working relationship with your child, as well as provide tips, information and the tools needed for dental success. The preventive steps we can now implement have helped a great percentage of children reach adulthood without ever experiencing a cavity.
When does dental care begin?
Dental care should begin before your child is even born. Though you can’t see them, your child is growing their teeth in utero. The choices in foods you eat and how you take care of your body can affect your growing fetus’ teeth. Once your child is born, the dental work should continue.
With your newborn infants, we ask that parents only feed them the recommended breast milk or formula as designated by the American Pediatric Association. Do not give your young babies other food, including rice cereal or juice, they do not need it, and it can hurt their growing teeth. A step that we recommend with infants is beginning the habit of daily wiping their gums with a clean washcloth. This will provide two very important functions, first, the parent daily thinking about their baby’s oral health, and secondly, the baby growing used to you doing it.
Once your baby is old enough to begin food, as approved by your pediatrician, make healthy choices. Avoid foods with sugar, especially juice. Many parents provide babies with bottles of juice; this is empty sugar-filled calories. It is not a healthy choice and is bad for their teeth, even if they have not yet erupted. We have seen babies grow teeth already containing cavities. Once your baby has their first tooth, you can begin to very gently brush that tooth daily. This will remove any debris while also reinforcing with your baby that this is something you will do daily.
First Dentist Appointment
We would like to see your child around their first birthday. The first dental visit with your child has multiple motives including:
||Meeting the Team: We want your child to feel comfortable. We want them to see our office, see the dental chair, see the tools and meet our team. We will not necessarily attempt an oral exam or cleaning unless they are willing.
||Answer Questions: Parents have questions when to begin toothpaste, what toothbrush to use, should they floss? We have answers. We want to discuss your child’s oral health with you and the tools and tips that can make your routine successful.
||Cleaning and Exam: If possible, we may perform a light dental cleaning on your child’s teeth, we will also want to count their teeth and look to see that teeth are erupting correctly. By the age of seven, there are steps we can take to help with proper alignment as permanent teeth come in.