I get around 2 questions a day sent to my email from various friends, readers, family, etc asking me dental questions. I have absolutely no problem answering them, as I enjoy taking about my profession. Most of the questions revolve around children and oral hygiene. Some frequently asked questions include when do you take your children to the dentist for the first time? What do you do to get a child’s breath to feel fresh? How many times a year should I bring my little one to the dentist- is twice a year really necessary? How do you know when it is time to go to the dentist? My child is so afraid of dentists- I am afraid I will cause unnecessary anxiety in them?
I decided to write a small post answering some of these questions here since they seem to be the most popular. While I am a professional, these opinions can change based on the dentist you talk to, so please refer to your individual dentist on questions.
1. When do you take your children to the dentist for the first time?:
The answer according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, is to take your child upon eruption of their first tooth. This usually occurs around the age of 4-9 months, and it is suggested to visit the dentist then. While you might think this is not necessary, it gives the dentist time to check the gum tissue and make sure the mouth is overall healthy for the first time. It also establishes a pattern of showing your children the dentist and how “it is not a scary place.”
2. What do you do to get a child’s breath to feel fresh?:
The answer all comes down to oral hygiene. For a younger child, it is essential that you brush your child’s teeth. In no way and no manner, should they be brushing their own teeth. They are not capable at a young age to brush for the full 2 minutes, and usually they end up putting the toothbrush down at 20 seconds. This contributes to bad breath as they are not establishing healthy oral hygiene. Make sure the parents brush the kids teeth! In terms of toothpaste, find a toothpaste that they like, as long as it is non-fluoridated before they know how to fully spit out. Once they reach the age where they could spit out, you can switch to a fluoridated toothpaste. Also follow up with a mouthwash as this will add to a nice, clean freshness in the mouth.
3. How many times a year should I bring my little one to the dentist- is twice a year really necessary?
Twice a year with no exception! You never know what will happen in a 6 month span, and you want to make sure your dentist is checking out your little ones teeth at these time intervals. They also will receive a cleaning and fluoride treatment, which will instill a good oral hygiene pattern.
The answer is easy- you should be going every 6 months. Just like children, adults should be frequenting the dentist twice a year. No exceptions should be made unless your dentist recommends it. Please do not wait to visit the dentist when you have a throbbing tooth pain that is keeping you up all night. Chances are at that point, an infection is present in the mouth. Avoid being in pain by visiting the dentist at your regularly scheduled times.
5. My child is so afraid of dentists- I am afraid I will cause unnecessary anxiety in them?:
Most of the anxiety of children stems from parents. Bring them to the dentist with you and show them that the dentist does not cause pain. By watching you and how you handle going to the dentist, their fears will be alleviated. If you are fearful, I can promise you they will be too! Also, there are great children books such as The Bernstein Bears go to the Dentist, which are cute reads that show going to the dentist is fun and pain-free!
I hope I answered a few of the questions I always hear on a regular basis. Oral hygiene is so important- Let’s keep it that way!
*This is a partnered post. All my opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.