A lot of the time, dentistry is described as a field of medicine that treats exclusively adults and teenagers. The logic typically goes like this: because children will lose their baby teeth eventually, there’s no point in examining their teeth until their adult teeth grow in.
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, and the mistaken logic could be dangerous for your child. We at Mint Dental Alaska in Anchorage, practice family dentistry because we know that dental care is important for people of all ages. Everyone, young or old, just growing teeth or needing replacements, needs a dentist, and we provide dental care for families in Anchorage accordingly.
Is my child too young to see the dentist?
So, as a parent, you’re probably wondering right now if your child is old enough to see the dentist. Most parents, when asked, would probably guess that their child’s first dental visit should be around age 5 (when they typically start losing their front teeth), but that answer is actually several years off. The American Dental Association recommends that children be brought to a dentist by the time they finish their first year.
Why is this? Simply put, as soon as a baby grows his or her first teeth, that tooth is already in danger. In fact, there’s never a period of a time when a person’s teeth are considered “safe” from damage. Even when fed on a diet of milk, children are susceptible to the same tooth decay and damage that could affect an adult. Setting good habits like daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits can mean your child can start his or her life with healthy and clean teeth.
But why do baby teeth matter?
Most parents can easily understand that setting good oral hygiene habits early on is important. It’s typically when their child first needs a baby tooth repaired (perhaps a cavity needs filling) that they begin to question the importance of baby teeth. After all, if the teeth are just going to disappear later, why spend the money to patch it up now?
From a financial standpoint, this logic unfortunately makes a lot of sense, but for a family dentist, it can be quite frightening. Contrary to popular opinion, baby teeth are vitally important to a person’s future oral health because they form the foundation for his or her future adult teeth. Strong and solid baby teeth keep the spacing in the mouth consistent enough to leave enough room for the permanent teeth to grow in. Baby teeth that are damaged or even prematurely missing can lead to adult teeth that erupt improperly, meaning that foregoing a simple procedure today could mean expensive orthodontic procedures in the future.
Maintaining a culture of good oral health in your home
Because baby teeth are so important, starting and maintaining a “culture” of dentistry in your home can keep everyone’s teeth healthy and happy. This means, first of all, creating and keeping up with a daily oral hygiene regime. Take care of your child’s teeth as soon as they grow in until he or she can do it independently. You can do this by carefully brushing and flossing the teeth, setting a good example for the future.
Just as importantly, though, you should begin to consistently visit a family dentist. Every six months, you should schedule an appointment for every member of your family. This means your dentist can not only regularly “deep-clean” you and your child’s teeth, but also find and fix any tooth-related issues before they become full-blown crises.
If you’re looking for a family dentist in Anchorage, AK, look no further. At Mint Dental Alaska, we have a team of dentists ready to take a look and you and your children’s teeth. Call our office at (907) 646-8672 or visit our website at mintdentalak.com today to set up an appointment!