Grow a Healthy Smile from Infancy to Adolescence: February is National Children’s Dental Health Month
As a dentist for kids and adults, we are used to fielding questions for every age and stage. According to the American Dental Association, parents should begin thinking about their child’s dental care even as that first tooth erupts. “I couldn’t agree more with this recommendation,” says Dr. Rob Bradley, a dentist with First Choice Dental. Bradley adds, “New parents have lots of questions about their child’s development, and kids dental questions rank among the top.” He says, “We recommend that parents establish a dental home for their infant within six months of the first tooth eruption.” He continues, “At this initial appointment, we can check developing teeth even below the gums, and answer questions about nutrition, bottle feeding, teething and other baby dental health issues.” February is Children’s Dental Health Month and a great time to talk about your family’s dental health needs. Here are some great questions you can ask your dentist during your next visit. And some key tips for smile health at every age and stage.
Common Questions about your Baby’s Dental Health
- When will my child get his first tooth?
- Do I need to start brushing baby teeth right away?
- What toothpaste is safe for my child?
- Do I really need to switch spoons when testing my baby’s food with my mouth?
- How do my baby’s bottle feeding habits affect his teeth development?
Your Preschool Child's Dental Health
Preschool is an exciting time in a child’s dental health development with visits from the tooth fairy, and a growing sense of independence as children learn to care for their own teeth. Says Bradley, “This is a critical time to develop good oral hygiene habits, and have regular check-ups every six months.” And although children are becoming more independent, it’s still important to oversee or assist in tooth brushing.
Common Questions about your Pre-Schooler’s Dental Health
- What age will my child lose her first tooth?
- My child lost her first tooth at four? Is that too early?
- How come some children have more cavities than others?
- How can I help my child overcome her fear of the dentist?
- My kids have been sick all week – should I throw out their toothbrushes?
- My child fell and hit his mouth – a tooth seems loose. What should I do?
Oral Health For Your Seven and Eight Year Old
Once children turn seven or eight years old, most have a mix of adult and baby teeth. By age seven, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children should see an orthodontist. Bradley explains, “Modern orthodontics has changed over the past decade. Now we can spot subtle problems with jaw growth or emerging teeth even while baby teeth are still present.” Bradley adds, “This is important because some problems are easier to correct if they are found early.” At this age, children still need reminders to help encourage regular brushing and flossing, and should be developing a knowledge base of good nutritional habits, like limiting soda and sweets, as well.
Common Questions about your Child’s Dental Health
- What is the appropriate age to take my child to the orthodontist?
- How do I find an orthodontist I can trust?
- My child hates brushing his teeth – is there any way to make it more fun?
- My son chipped his tooth in a soccer game – what should I do?
- What constitutes a dental emergency?
Your Teen-Ager's Dental Health
Bradley says, “The teen years are crucial years for orthodontics and good post-braces care. At this age, teens are especially at risk for tooth decay caused by soda, sugar, and constant snacking.” If kids aren’t motivated from a nutritional or health standpoint, the dentist can be an ally in reminding them that their food choices and dental health habits will have a life-long impact on the appearance of their smile as well.
Common Questions about your Teenager’s Dental Health
- What steps can we take to ensure my teen’s new post-braces smile stays healthy?
- How can I protect my kids’ braces and post-braces mouths during sports?
- What food and snack choices will be best for my teenager's teeth, especially with braces?
Questions like these are great to ask your dentist during normal visits or anytime via phone or email. We also frequently receive questions and respond via our Facebook page. We are happy to answer your questions any time. You can view our Doctors and Locations on our website.