Top Five Things Families Should Know About Their Child’s Dental Health

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When should a child first visit a dentist?  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a first dental checkup six months after the initial tooth erupts, or by age one. The goal of the first appointment is to introduce the youngster to the dentist and help establish a positive foundation for future care.

What if they’re older than one and haven’t seen a dentist? It’s never too late to start seeing a dentist.

When should parents start brushing their child’s teeth?  As soon as the first tooth erupts. There are various types of children’s toothbrushes specifically designed to help with that process.  Even without any teeth, it’s important to clean the gums by wiping them with a moist gauze or washcloth.

At what age is it safe to use fluoridated toothpaste?  AAPD recommends using a thin smear of fluoridated toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice, between ages one and three. From three to six a pea sized amount of children’s fluoridated toothpaste should be used.

Will going to the dentist during pregnancy be harmful to a baby? No.  It’s important to keep up with regular dental cleanings during pregnancy. Studies show a strong correlation between the mother’s oral bacterial environment and the child’s future cavity risk; it’s crucial to maintain a healthy oral environment. It’s also important for the dentist to know the stage of pregnancy to tailor any treatments needed during that time.

Potrero Hill Dental will open on Vermont Street this year.  February is Children’s Dental Health Month.