Everyone, children and adults alike, should periodically see a dentist to maintain good oral health to prevent expensive and painful dental issues before they become too serious.
One misconception dentists hear is that children don’t need to worry about oral health because they are eventually going to lose their baby teeth anyway. This idea is incorrect because the healthy development of adult teeth depends a lot on having healthy primary teeth first. When kids get cavities that are untreated, it often leads to oral health problems down the line in adult mouths. Good oral health in kids means that permanent teeth will have enough space to come in, that the teeth will be in the correct positions, and that the jaw bones and muscles will develop properly. Beyond that, healthy teeth are essential for many other aspects of childhood development, from eating nutritious foods to speaking well to having confidence in oneself.
Our trained staff recognizes that children’s mouths are constantly changing and developing. Teeth come in, fall out, and new teeth come in again. Jaw bones are growing and the muscles strengthening. Making sure all of these changes are happening as they should be while correcting issues as they occur is a complex task.
Our staff knows how to keep our young patients comfortable and how to encourage them to cooperate in our care. Our devotion to children comes into play in everything we do, including how we decorate our offices, the activities in the waiting room, and how we speak to patients to get them comfortable with being in the dental chair. At Growing Smiles, our philosophy is to work in the mouth but to see the whole child.
Why should children see a dentist if they’re just going to grow in new teeth anyway?
Healthy teeth are important for children’s proper development with eating and talking as well as for their self-image. When oral health is neglected in childhood, it often leads to dental problems in adulthood. Pediatric dentistry lays the foundation of lifelong oral health.
How often should my child see a dentist?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, children have their first dental check-up by their first birthday. After that, the recommendation is every 6 months, which is the same for adults.
What are some common dental problems in children?
Tooth decay – Kids can develop cavities and tooth decay from sugary foods and poor oral hygiene. Infants can develop a condition called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, which is caused by over-exposure to liquids like milk and juice that contain sugar.
Gum disease – Gingivitis, which is a condition of swollen, bleeding gums, can be painful and weaken teeth’s positions in the mouth.
Thumbsucking – It’s OK for infants to suck their thumbs or a pacifier, but once teeth come in, the habit can create misaligned teeth.
Orthodontic issues – Children first have 20 baby teeth which are then replaced by 32 permanent teeth. With all these teeth growing in and falling out, problems can arise.
When should my child start using toothpaste?
You can use infant or toddler toothpaste as soon as your child has teeth. These toothpastes do not contain fluoride. When your child is able to rinse and spit, you can start using fluoridated toothpaste.
What if my child is afraid of going to the dentist or has special needs?
We are experienced with treating all sorts of children. Feel free to call as before your visit, and we can address your concerns and provide helpful tips.