Recent surveys have revealed that less than one-quarter of two-year-olds in the US have ever been to the dentist and 40 percent of children of ages 2 to 4 have one or more cavities. While it is normal for children and adults to get cavities from time to time, children so young should not be getting so many. If you are an expectant mother or currently have a baby or toddler, then follow these guidelines to ward off cavities and keep their teeth as healthy as they can be.
Don't Wait for a Cavity to Take Your Child to the Dentist for the First Time
Since only 25 percent of two-year-olds have been to the dentist, that means that many parents are not following the dental care guidelines set by the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, or AAPA.
Guidelines are set as follows:
- Every child should visit the dentist for the first as soon as their first tooth emerges, and absolutely no later than by their first birthday. Why? This is the time when your child can meet the dentist so later in life they are not fearful of him or her. Also, your child's dentist needs to ensure that your child's gums are healthy and that baby's jaw is forming properly.
- You can then wait until your child is two to take him or her for their second dental visit, but only if they are drinking from a cup. If they are still sucking on a bottle, then this makes cavities more likely to occur, and they should then have an extra dental visit at 18 months.
- After age two, every child should begin visiting the dentist every six-months. Their teeth will be cleaned thoroughly during these visits and their gums and emerging teeth checked for health. Your child's first set of dental x-rays won't be taken until they are between 4 and 6 years old.
Follow These Additional Tips to Ward off Cavities in Your Toddler
Good oral care should start before your child has teeth. Wipe their gums with a moist, damp cloth after feedings when they are a baby. Once their teeth begin emerging, you should start brushing them (no matter how few) with a soft toothbrush and plain water twice each day.
When your child turns 2, or 24 months, you can start teaching him or her to brush with a tiny bit of real toothpaste on a soft brush. Make sure they do not swallow the paste. Also, inspect their mouth regularly for any unusual marks on their gum tissue or teeth. If you do notice anything out of the ordinary, then arrange a dental visit to have it checked out.
Statistics show that many parents are not taking the oral care of their young children as seriously as they should and neglecting the advice of the AAPA. This is leading to very young children developing cavities. Start taking your child to the dentist when their first tooth emerges on, and begin baby oral care early so your child does not become a statistic. Contact a professional like Brit E. Bowers, DDS for more information.Share