When Should I Begin Dental Care for My Child?

Are you wondering if it’s too early to worry about your child’s oral health? It’s not. You should be making sure your child’s oral and dental health are on track from early on in childhood, so they grow up with proper dental care being an ingrained habit.

At the dental practice of Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili in Fairfax, Virginia, pediatric dentistry services help keep your child’s dental care on track. As a parent, there are plenty of things you can do before your child’s first dental visit and beyond.

Beginning dental care for your child

When your baby is born, he or she probably won’t have teeth yet, although it’s not unheard of. Wiping their gums down gently with a wet, lint-free washcloth after nursing or bottle feeding can help keep their gums clean and free from bacteria. 

As your child grows, you can offer a small bottle or sippy cup of water after feeding to ensure their gums stay fresh and clean. Once their first tooth pops through the gum, they are ready to see the dentist for the first time.

Baby’s first dental visit

At your child’s first visit to the dentist, Dr. Yalamanchilki may not do more than let them sit in the chair while she inspects their gums and tooth or teeth. She might let them experience the gentle scrubbing feeling of the toothbrush. The entire visit should be relaxed and fun for your child. By making thye visit to the dentist a stress-free experience, you can make it easier to instill good oral health habits

As your child grows

Once your child has one or more teeth, you’ll need to help them brush daily at least twice a day. Ideally, you and your children should be brushing your teeth after each meal. However, drinking a glass of water after eating can help keep your mouth flushed out until you can brush again.

Children under the age of eight need to be watched as they brush their teeth so you can make sure they’re doing it correctly. Brushing your own teeth as your child does theirs is a great way to set an example. You can start when your child is very small by helping them brush and then letting them control their own toothbrush as you brush your own teeth. 

Dental care should be fun

Instead of making toothbrushing a chore you make your child do, turn it into an activity they love to do. Let them pick out their own toothbrush, floss, and paste and make sure they have a cute rinse cup. Play music while you brush together and brush until the very end of a song. As they get older, you can introduce a chart and stickers to help them keep track of their toothbrushing and flossing, and mark when it’s time to go pick out a new toothbrush.

Is your baby ready for their first dental visit? Call Dr. Yalamanchili at our office at 703-213-5313 or book your appointment online today.

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