Early Childhood Dental Care
At North Phoenix Pediatric Dentistry, we believe that every child deserves to enjoy healthy teeth for life. We are proponents of prevention right from the start to halt the onset and progression of dental problems, including early childhood tooth decay. Good home dental care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits are the best ways to set your child up for long-term healthy smiles.
The Importance of Maintaining Healthy Baby Teeth
Even though baby teeth don’t last forever, keeping them healthy will reflect on your child’s long-term dental health. Baby teeth maintain the space the adult teeth need to come in correctly, help your child with speech development, and make it easier to chew and eat, promoting good nutrition.
If a baby tooth is lost too early due to trauma or dental decay, the neighboring teeth may shift out of alignment, blocking the permanent teeth from coming in the way they should. That can potentially lead to crooked or crowded teeth and problems with the bite. Premature baby tooth loss often causes problems that require orthodontic treatment down the road.
When Should Your Child First Visit the Dentist?
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend visiting a pediatric dentist when your little one’s first tooth appears and no later than the first birthday. The “well-baby visit” is an excellent opportunity to learn how to care for your child’s dental health to prevent cavities and promote healthy smiles.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Also known as early childhood caries, or ECC, baby bottle tooth decay is an aggressive form of tooth decay among young children. It is one of the most prevalent yet preventable childhood diseases in children under six.
ECC usually results from frequent and prolonged exposure of a baby or young child’s teeth to liquids containing sugar, including breast milk, formula, fruit juice, and sweetened drinks. Cavity-causing bacteria feast on these sugars, producing acids that attack the tooth enamel. If you must give your baby or toddler a bottle at bedtime, it should only contain water. We also recommend transitioning to a sippy cup by the first birthday.
Caring for Your Child’s Oral Health
Caring for your child’s oral health starts at birth. After each feeding, gently wipe your baby’s gums and teeth with a damp gauze pad or washcloth to remove any plaque. When the first baby teeth come in, brush them using a soft-bristled baby toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste. From ages 2-5, use a pea-sized amount of ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste.
We also recommend starting to floss as soon as two teeth touch. That helps remove plaque from those hard-to-reach areas between the teeth. Make sure you help with brushing and flossing until your child can do so independently.
When introducing solids, offer a balanced, nutritious diet and limit sugary foods. It’s also essential to schedule twice-a-year dental checkups to allow us to monitor your little one’s oral health and address any problems as they develop. Teaching your child good dental care habits from a young age will set the stage for long-term healthy smiles.
North Phoenix Pediatric Dentistry is a safe and happy place where you and your child will feel right at home. Our team is committed to preventive care to help each child enjoy a healthy smile for life. We look forward to working alongside you to establish healthy oral care habits right from the start.
Early Childhood Dental Care Near Me in Phoenix, AZ
If it’s time for your child’s first or routine dental visit or if you have any concerns, North Phoenix Pediatric Dentistry is here to help. We invite you to contact our office at 602-864-1080 to schedule an appointment or request one online today!