Oral health conditions like cavities (also known as caries) can lead to more severe illnesses. Sadly, they can begin early. In Utah, for instance, about 65% of kids around nine years old will already develop tooth decay.
Perhaps a considerable part of the problem is parents not knowing when to bring their children to the dentist or the right time to have their teeth checked by an orthodontist.
If you’re a parent, this list of FAQs will help meet your child’s oral health needs:
1. When Is the Best Time to Bring the Kids to the Dentist for the First Time?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the ideal time to visit a kids’ dentist is as soon as the first teeth erupt. That will be around six months old.
Otherwise, it should be within the first year and hopefully not later than two years old. The following might explain the reasons:
- The kid’s dentist can monitor the progress of the teeth’s eruption.
- The dentist can guide you on how to take care of an infant’s teeth. These include when to brush their teeth or whether you can already floss theirs. (Usually, you can already floss their teeth if the upper and lower teeth already come into contact.)
- You will know the best foods to give. Gums can be sensitive as the tooth ties to come out.
2. What Is the Right Time for Kids to Have Braces?
Braces and retainers are oral appliances that help treat malocclusions. Teeth misalignment can interfere in the development of your child’s language or speaking skills. It can also cause issues with chewing. Over time, it can affect their self-confidence or self-esteem.
Malocclusions or misalignments can also become worse. That’s why you need to have them treated sooner. The question is when.
The consensus is to do it when the child already has most or all of their permanent teeth. That’s around 8 and 13 years old. However, any time is excellent to see an orthodontist. Even when the kid still has baby teeth, the dentist can already monitor the growth and development of the permanent ones.
When children have their braces and retainers around these ages, they will also be more responsible for their care. They are also more likely to be compliant with dentist recommendations.
3. Should Kids Have Their Tooth Cleaned?
Yes, like adults, children can already benefit from regular tooth cleaning. It can be scheduled once or twice a year, along with their regular exam.
This process helps support regular oral cleaning that involves toothbrushing and flossing. Making this a regular habit can also reduce the stigma that comes with dental visits. The more your child becomes comfortable seeing their dentist, the more likely they can maintain good oral health even when they’re older.
4. Can Kids Use Adult Toothbrushes?
It depends on how wide they can open their mouth. Toothbrushes come in different head sizes, particularly lengths. For instance, an infant brush will have a head length of only 15 mm.
Meanwhile, an adult toothbrush’s head length could already be at least 25 mm. You also want to provide a brush that’s easier for the child to grip.
When it comes to forming good oral habits, it’s best to start them early. It will spare them from painful toothaches and gum-related diseases.
Meta title: Parents, Here Are the Answers to Your Common Pediatric Dental Questions
Meta description: Taking care of your child’s oral health early can help build good habits later. But as a parent, you might have dozens of questions about it. This article has answers to some of them.