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Question: When should my baby first visit a dentist?
Answer: First dentist visit should be done when the first tooth comes out or on the first birthday. Do not forget that early diagnosis is the first step in prevention of problems that may occur later. Parents, podiatrists and dentists think differently on the topic of first dentist visit. Many dentists suggest that parents should take their children to a dentist when the milk teeth are seen in the mouth (approximately 2-3 ages). Some dentists even think that they should wait until the age of 6. However, waiting for this long may cause oral-dental health problems of the children to be in more serious levels. AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) suggests that a pedodontist should examine the child before the first birthday or when the first milk teeth come out, meaning 6-9 months. In this first examination, baby is put on mother’s lap and oral examination is done. Parents are informed about the problems that may occur in this period. Nutritional habits, dental development and risk of caries is determined in this session and the next dentist visit is planned. Pedodontist also evaluates whether or not oral and dental development is normal. Also, the need for fluorine is also decided on in this visit. Habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier, baby bottle are also evaluated in this session and parents are informed.
Question: Why so early? What kind of problems may occur in this age?
Answer: The most important reason for you to visit a pedodontist or dentist is to begin preventive dentistry applications in these early ages. Dental problems begin in early periods. The most common problem is a rapidly growing and destructive caries called “baby bottle tooth decay”. Especially if your child is using baby bottle and eat irregularly, there may be a risk for this type of caries. The sooner the first visit is the easier it will be to prevent dental problems. Do not forget that a child with healthy teeth can chew well, talk well and smile safely.
Question: How may I prevent my baby from “baby bottle tooth decay”?
Answer: raise awareness of your children when they become 1 year old about drinking from a glass not from a baby bottle. Especially sleeping with a baby bottle in mouth will cause accumulation of the milk on the teeth and tooth decays because saliva flow is almost stopped during sleeping. Giving children milk or juice during sleep is therefore dangerous. IF you have to give them something in baby bottle, give them water.
Question: When should my baby stop feeding on a baby bottle?
Answer: Your child should quit baby bottle use after 12-14 months slowly.
Question: My child has thumb sucking habits, is it dangerous?
Answer: It is normal to have this habit until the age of 2. If your child still has this habit in the age of 4, there may be problems in jaw bone and permanent teeth (orthodontic problems). Your pedodontist will inform you about stopping this habit and what to do.
Question: When should I begin brushing my child’s teeth?
Answer: The sooner the better. It would be beneficial to clean your child’s mouth with a clean cloth or special tooth brushes for baby. This will help relieving problems which occur during teething.
Question: Can you give information about the times of tooth eruption?
Answer: Dates of teething differ in every child. Generally, the first milk teeth erupts in the first 6-9 months with lower incisor teeth and it ends in the ages 2,5-3 when molar teeth come out. In these periods, your baby may have a fever, increased saliva flow, and irritation. Wiping your baby’s mouth with a cold and wet cloth or using teeth protectors would help easing the child.