The first visit to the dentist
The first visit to the dentist can be made as soon as the first teeth of the child appear, or at the latest in the next six months, ie around the age of one year. However, you must bring your child to the dentist without waiting, regardless of age, if you suspect a problem.
The dentist can give advice on appropriate preventive measures for his child, such as:
- teeth cleaning
- fluoride applications and the application of sealants that protect teeth against cavities
During preventive examinations, the dentist will check the evolution of jaw growth and the position of the teeth and tongue during swallowing. Speech problems, chewing and aesthetics are some of the things that can be detected and corrected in time.
The dentist will then be able to suggest ways to remedy potential problems or refer the child to an orthodontist, who specializes in the treatment of dental malocclusions.
Whenever a child eats a food or drinks a sweet liquid, particles stay on and between the teeth. If they are not removed by brushing and flossing, the bacteria in the mouth turn the sugars of these particles into acids that attack the tooth enamel and, in the long run, cause decay.
Tips for protecting your children’s teeth:
- It is best to eat sweets at the end of the meal. Saliva, then more abundant, helps neutralize some acids that attack the teeth and eliminate excess sugar.
- If possible, ask the child to brush their teeth right after eating sweets. If not, make him drink water: it will help dilute some of the sugars and acids.
- Avoid offering soft, sticky treats that get stuck between your teeth.
- Remind the child to brush and floss before bedtime.
It is normal for a baby to suck. This is how he relaxes and feeds. The closer your child is when they are 2 or 3 years old, the less they need to suck. If this is not the case, the use of a pacifier is recommended rather than thumb sucking.
Because YOU can control when and how your child uses a pacifier, but not his thumb. Never put sugar, honey or corn syrup on a lollipop.
This may cause cavities. It is best if your child stops sucking BEFORE his or her permanent teeth grow, around 5 years old. If a child continues to suck his thumb or lollipop AFTER his permanent teeth have appeared, the growth of his jaw and the position of his teeth may suffer.
Growth of teeth
If your child is teething and seems to be in pain, you can:
- Rub the gums with your finger.
- Rub the gums with the back of a cold spoon.
- If the pain persists, your dentist, pharmacist or doctor may recommend an over-the-counter medication to relieve the pain.
Here’s what NOT to do:
- DO NOT use the kind of pain medication you rub on your child’s gums; he could swallow it.
- DO NOT give him teething biscuits. They may contain added or concealed sugar.
- DO NOT underestimate a fever. The eruption of new teeth does NOT make babies sick or feverish. If your child has a fever, see your doctor.
All 20 primary teeth will have appeared before your child is 2 or 3 years old. The following chart shows the age at which primary teeth erupt in MOST children. Consult your dentist if you have any concerns.