In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the basic reasons why the first dental visit for a young child is so important. Not only are you performing vital tasks in terms of checkups on their baby teeth and limiting the risk of decay, you’re also creating a healthy foundation for good oral health for you, your child, & your pediatric dentist moving forward.
At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we’re proud to offer information & resources on first dental visits and much more as part of our child dental services. Part 2 of our “first dental visit” blog post will focus on the benefits of these visits. We’ll also talk about some things you should be prepared for as a parent – both in terms of incentivizing your child for the appointment itself and some of the early dental care areas you’ll learn about and be responsible for in the beginning stages of the oral care of your child.
First Visit Tips
Young children may be nervous or struggle with new experiences like their first dental visit. There are some things that parents can do to make this easier for everyone. These tips are helpful for making the most of the initial visit. They can also be good for setting ongoing expectations that a visit to the dentist means a low stress positive experience for everyone moving forward.
A few general themes we recommend here:
- Scheduling: Wherever possible, schedule during your child’s most docile and cooperative periods. Most children tend to be more calm in the morning, soon after waking up, so this can be a good time to schedule your first appointment. Avoid scheduling during nap time or during periods where kids are typically active or cranky.
- Bribes: Some parents use bribes to convince their kids to go to the dentist, however we highly recommend against this. The same goes for using the dentist as a punishment. Both of these set bad examples and portray going to the dentist in a negative light.
- Positivity: It is best to be positive about the entire dental experience, including teaching & encouraging your child to put into practice some of the things they’ve learned about good oral care.
Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavity Risks Early
A big theme during your first dental visit will be establishing an oral care routine that prevents tooth decay and cavity risks in your child. Here are some general tips or suggestions:
- Breastfeeding: Breast milk contains sugar, so be sure to wipe baby gums and teeth after breastfeeding to limit bacteria buildup. As soon as there are visible teeth to brush, begin brushing these after each feeding.
- Bottles and snacking: We recommend avoiding fruit juice and sugary drinks until at least age 1, and then limiting their consumption ongoing. The last thing your child drinks before bed should be water. Avoid giving too many sugary snacks.
- Pacifiers: It is good practice to never put a pacifier or feeding spoon in your own mouth before you give it to your child, as this can pass on sugar, germs, or bacteria that could lead to tooth decay or sickness.
For more on first dental visits for your child, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to one of the doctors at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.