Those pearly whites. From teething to the first visit with a dentist, here is a look at the do’s and don’ts of caring for your child’s first teeth.
If you have a child around four to six months of age, then chances are her first tooth is erupting, and she’ll continue getting about one tooth a month until she’s approximately two and a half years of age. For generations we’ve referred to this as teething, and have blamed the process of teething on everything from crankiness to serious illness. However according to pediatrician Dr. Alan Goldbloom, “teething is not a disease. It’s as normal a process as the hair growing on your head, or any other part of growth and development.”
Today, most physicians and dentists agree that the eruption of baby teeth causes very little discomfort. In fact, Dr. Goldbloom says if your child seems really upset or uncomfortable then it’s important to have your child seen by her physician in order to rule out a serious illness. However Goldbloom adds “teething may produce a little bit of discomfort. The gums may be a little swollen, the baby may drool a little more, the baby may be a little fussy. If you wanted to give them something cold such as a teething ring, or anything hard to chew on that they can’t swallow, that’s fine.”
Caring for those first pearly whites is important. Avoiding sugar, bottles of juice or milk at bedtime and brushing the new teeth with a soft cloth or brush is part of that care. So is the first visit to a dentist. But when is the right time to begin taking your child to the dentist? Pediatric dentist Dr. Richard Kramer recommends parents bring their children in for a check up at around their first birthday. “It used to be that 3 years of age was the magic number, but in recent years they’ve reduced the age for a kid to go to a dentist down to approximately one year of age. If you go to a pediatric dentist’s office they may ask to see him at that age with the rational being if you see a child that young, you may be able to prevent problems before they occur. (It’s also) an opportunity to review procedures at home, in order to reduce the potential for decay.”
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.