At Anderson Dental, we love seeing kids! It is our goal to make your child’s visit a positive one. We make it a priority to provide the very best dental care to the youngest members of our community. In fact, part of our community outreach efforts involve talking to elementary school kids about dental health, so don’t be surprised if we show up in a classroom near you!
Baby’s First Exam
We encourage you to schedule your baby’s first dental visit around his or her first birthday. We will perform a very gentle visual examination of your baby’s mouth and answer any questions you may have. There is no fee for this exam if scheduled with your regular check up. Regular exams should begin around 2 years of age.
Home Care Guidelines for Children
Even though newborns have a long way to go before developing teeth, it’s still important to keep their gums clean and healthy.
- Use a soft toothbrush made specifically for infants (or simply a clean cloth or gauze pad and water) to clean your child’s gums after each feeding. This will help prevent “baby bottle tooth decay” (the damage caused to emerging teeth from milk or juice residue) as well as plaque (a sticky film of bacteria that can cause cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis).
- If you bottle feed, be sure to remove the bottle when your baby falls asleep.
- While it should never be encouraged, thumb- and finger-sucking is acceptable at this age.
- For optimal oral health, we suggest that you schedule a dental appointment for your child by his or her first birthday – ideally when the first tooth arrives. This will provide your child with a dental home and a chance for us to answer any questions you may have.
Ages 6 months to 2 years
Follow these instructions as soon as your child’s teeth begin to appear (usually around 6 months).
- Using a soft child’s toothbrush, apply just a smear of non-fluoride toothpaste and gently brush the emerging teeth. Children should not use fluoride toothpaste until they are able to spit the toothpaste out on their own.
- Continue to prevent “baby bottle tooth decay” by ensuring that your child does not fall asleep with a bottle. Children should be weaned at 12 to 14 months of age.
- Teething will create tender gums and, in some cases, an irritable temper, which may be soothed with gum massage, a cold washcloth, or a teething ring. Please contact Anderson Dental if your child is experiencing abnormal pain during teething.
- Thumb/finger-sucking is still acceptable at this age.
- Pacifiers can be used up to age 2.
Ages 2 to 5 years
Help your child develop oral hygiene practices that will last a lifetime.
Use a soft children’s toothbrush to either perform or assist in your child’s brushing at least 2 times per day.
Thumb/finger-sucking, and pacifier use beyond age 2 can cause problems with tooth and bite alignment, inhibit mouth growth, and more. If your child is exhibiting these habits beyond age 2, we would be happy to suggest gentle ways to discourage them. If this continues beyond 4-5 years of age, active intervention with a cemented appliance may be necessary.
At this age, a dental exam may include polishing of your child’s teeth, hands-on home care instruction, fluoride treatment (to help prevent future decay), and x-rays if necessary.