From our perspective, the answer to that question is “No.” Since baby teeth play a large part in the guiding and development of the adult teeth, our recommendation is to begin caring for those tiny pearly whites as early as possible. As adult role models, we have an opportunity to instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime. What exactly does that entail?
From infancy, parents can use special tooth and gum wipes that can establish a nighttime routine. Gently cleaning the gums, this will get babies used to the sensation of having something in their mouth.
For toddlers, caregivers can put a small bit of flavored toothpaste in the child’s mouth letting them chew on it a little, perhaps scrubbing it around to simulate brushing.
Once that pattern is established, purchase a child-sized toothbrush in favorite colors or featuring cartoon characters. You will also need the accompanying child-centric toothpaste with fluoride. A parent or caregiver can do the actual brushing, letting the toddler have a turn moving the toothbrush around in his or her mouth.
Feel free to incorporate songs and videos about brushing teeth – there are a lot of options! The point is to keep it all light and fun so that your child will want to embrace healthy habits as early as possible. These habits are increasingly important, especially because decay grows rapidly in baby teeth. Resulting early tooth loss can lead to malocclusion and other oral problems in adolescence and adulthood.
At Mitchell Dentistry, we recommend age three and a half to start with regular dental visits. Here is an excerpt from our past blog post about that milestone age of three and a half:
“Our patients who are new parents often ask, ‘I think our child has great teeth, so at what age should we start bringing our child to the dentist?’ I don’t hesitate for a second – three and a half. Why three and a half you might ask? Why not three? Or four? After practicing dentistry for about three and a half decades, I can assure you – three and a half is the perfect age to start a child’s lifelong relationship with dentistry in a fun and positive way. That is the magic age when the child understands what’s happening at the dentist’s office. Just tell your child that we are going to visit our friend the dentist and a simple explanation of why they are here and what they can expect.
As you can see, it’s never too early for good oral hygiene!
As always, please call us with any questions or concerns about caring for the beautiful smiles of your children and grandchildren.
All the best from our family to yours,
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