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Dental Advice for Baby's First Tooth

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Brushing starts earlier than most parents are aware of

Did you know that dental disease is the most common childhood chronic disease? Here's some dental advice for those baby teeth.


According to the University of Michigan's Michigan Medicine news blog, a recent survey revealed that most parents do not know when or at what age their child should see a dentist for the first time. In fact, many wait until tooth decay and/or other dental related problems occur before making that first visit, making dental disease the most common childhood chronic disease.

The news blog quotes Stephanie Goodson, M.D., a pediatrician at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital as stating that, "A visit should take place by their first birthday, or six months after the first tooth becomes visible--whichever is earlier," as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association.

Tips Parents Should Follow for Baby Teeth

1. Plan Ahead: Parents should ensure their child is enrolled in a dental plan when his or her first tooth emerges. Ask around and expect to be on a waiting list for a highly recommended pediatric dentist, so make your child's first appointment early.

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2. Nip that Decay in the Bud: Depending on the child's diet and genetics, tartar buildup can occur quite early. Consider having your child's dentist apply a protective fluoride varnish to your child's teeth around age 9 months.

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3. Avoid making dental visits unpleasant: It's ok for mom or dad to sit in the dental chair with their young child on the lap to ease them into their first dental exam.

4. Brush as soon as there's something to brush: A child's teeth should be brushed as soon as they emerge and the child is capable of spitting. Apply only a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste and the softest toothbrush you can find for children.

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5. Now is the time to start their beverage habits the right way: No sugary drinks or allowing them to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth.

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For more about good dental care here is some useful info from Consumer Reports on Dental Do's and Don'ts for a Healthier Smile.

Reference: Michigan Medicine University of Michigan "When Should a Child See a Dentist for the First Time?"

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