The Tooth Fairy in our house has pretty much retired, and not a moment too soon, because she was quite forgetful. Seriously, I don’t know how she had a job. Even though she occasionally showed up on time, more often than not, she deserved a 1-star Yelp review for her timeliness.
Whether your Tooth Fairy is as unreliable as ours, or consistently achieves Imaginary Creature of the Month, taking care of her prized treasures is a vital part of our children’s health. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, which aims to promote awareness for the importance of children’s oral health. When it comes to caring for the chompers your little ones will lose, and the ones they’ll keep, here are 5 things your child’s dentist wishes you knew:
1. Your child doesn’t need to have teeth for their first visit.
Dentists recommend that children see the dentist for the first time before their first birthday. Even before they have teeth, it is important to assess your child’s overall oral health and diet. In addition, bringing in your baby for their first visit as early as possible will foster a positive and fruitful beginning to their oral health journey and relationship with their dentist.
2. Baby teeth are important!
Even though they will eventually fall out, baby teeth need just as much care as adult teeth. Baby teeth can get cavities which can lead to pain and infection. Tooth decay in baby teeth can even affect the development and positioning of future adult teeth. (So limiting sugars is not only important for keeping them from bouncing off the walls, but keeping those cavities at bay from the start!)
3. Limited thumb-sucking is natural.
Please talk to your child’s dentist if the thumb-sucking continues past the age of two, but it is a natural act for young children. In order to avert future complications from allowing it to go on for too long, your child’s dentist can discuss with you the proper time and method for breaking the habit.
4. You can help make each visit to the dentist a positive one.
Dentists (especially pediatric dentists) strive to make every visit an encouraging, calm environment that creates happy little patients. They are even equipped to provide sedation if necessary. However, if you play it cool, that will go a long way toward helping your child remain calm, too. Many of us carry fears of dental visits with us long into adulthood, but that doesn’t mean the chain can’t be broken with your child.
5. Your questions are welcome!
Just like any other healthcare professional, your dentist wants you to take an active role in your child’s oral health. So if you have questions about your little one’s development, hygiene, and treatment, please ask away!
Your local dentist is an excellent resource for your family’s dental health needs, and can even recommend a pediatric dentist if it becomes necessary. If you need additional help finding one, search your local Oklahoma City Moms Blog playgroup, the American Dental Association, or the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.