To give your child a
healthy start in life, it's important to take care of
his or her teeth and gums. Dental health is a big
part of total health. If a child gets dental
disease that is not treated, he or she can suffer
serious health problems.
You can protect your child
from dental disease with daily cleanings, regular dental
visits and good nutrition. Children learn health
habits from their parents and caregivers.
Tooth decay can occur as
soon as your child's first tooth erupts. Parents
may wonder why they should worry about decay in baby
teeth, since they will be replaced by permanent teeth.
The problem is that decay in the primary teeth could
mean a higher risk of decay in the permanent teeth.
And if decay is severe, it can harm the child's overall
During the first visit,
your child's dentist can do several things, such as:
learn your child's
give a complete oral
exam to check growth and development, oral hygiene,
injuries, cavities or other problems.
tell you if your child
is at risk of developing tooth decay
clean the teeth and
provide tips for daily care
find out whether your
child is getting enough fluoride to prevent cavities
practices that may lead to tooth decay
pacifier use, or finger / thumb sucking habits
talk with you about
common dental injuries and what to do if one happens
discuss treatment if
needed and schedule the next check-up
Many infants and young
children like to suck on thumbs, fingers and pacifiers.
Sucking is a natural reflex that may make them feel
safe, happy and relaxed. However, in some cases a
child's sucking habits can cause problems with tooth
alignment and the proper growth of the mouth.
Sucking habits usually stop
between the ages of two and four. If your child
uses a pacifier or sucks his or her fingers, talk to
your dentist about how to wean your child of this habit.
Pacifiers should not be used after age two, and finger
or thumb sucking should end by age four.
Teaching children the
importance of good oral care early is a great way to set
healthy habits for life. Dental disease is almost
entirely preventable, and untreated dental disease can
lead to serious health problems. Keep your child
healthy by brushing his or her teeth twice a day,
flossing once a day and by visiting the dentist