Dental Care is Crucial During the First Year of Life.
Proper care for baby teeth is imperative as they serve several critical functions, including:
- Fostering good nutrition by permitting proper chewing
- Aiding speech development
- Helping proper development of permanent teeth by saving space for them
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend a dental visit for children by age one.
Baby teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay from their very first appearance, on average between the ages of six and 12 months.
The associative pain of tooth decay can prevent a child from eating correctly, impacting overall health and development. Additionally, undetected and untreated tooth decay can lead to infection, loss of teeth and expensive and mostly preventable emergency and restorative interventions.
A scientific paper in the journal Pediatric Dentistry revealed that children who wait to have their first dental visit until age two or three are more likely to require restorative and emergency visits.
Benefits of the Year One Dental Visit
1 + 1 = ZERO. ONE dental visit when there’s ONE tooth can equal ZERO cavities.
Visiting a pediatric dentist by the time the first baby tooth appears enables the child to begin a lifelong preventive dental care program to minimize tooth decay and cavities.
Pediatric dentists can detect early tooth decay, provide parents with information on proper oral and facial development, determine fluoride needs and more.
The year one dental visit can actually save money. A study in the journal Pediatrics showed that children who have their first dental visit before age one have 40 percent lower dental costs in their first five years than children who do not, due to the cost of dental and medical procedures that may be necessary as a result of poor oral health.
Recommended At-home Dental Care During Year One
Even before baby teeth appear, infants need proper oral care and fluoride supplements to help developing teeth grow strong.
Parents should clean infant mouths and gums regularly with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water.
Children older than six months need fluoride supplements if their drinking water does not contain enough fluoride. Fluoride supplementation in infants has been shown to reduce tooth decay by as much as 50 percent.
Babies should be weaned from the bottle by 12-14 months of age and breast-feeding should be discontinued once the first baby tooth appears and other sources of nutrition have been introduced.
Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop.
source: “Get It Done By Year One.” American Academy Of Pediatric Dentists. Web. Sept. 15th, 2017.
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