Start the year off right with a commitment to support your baby's dental wellness. Make resolutions to keep up with tooth-related milestones, hygiene, and dental office visits for the special little one in your life. Here are three new parent dental resolutions to get you started.
1. Resolve to Schedule That First Appointment
Your infant should have their first dental appointment when their first tooth erupts. Or, schedule a first dentist's office visit by the time your baby is one year old if no teeth have erupted yet. If your baby is older than one year of age, don't worry. Just schedule your baby's first dental appointment as soon as possible.
First office visits are usually low-key appointments. During the simple dental exam, your child may sit on your lap facing you. The dentist sits on another chair. Your child is then reclined toward the dentist's lap.
Babies may be intimidated by the dental chair. The lap method keeps you close while your dentist checks your baby's teeth for the first time. The dentist counts the baby's teeth, looks at all tooth and gum surfaces with a mirror, and may use a gloved finger to touch parts of your baby's teeth and gums.
2. Vow to Be Positive and Calm About Dental Treatments
Be mindful about not projecting your own dentist-related anxieties and fears onto your child. If your child senses that you're worried or fearful of dental treatments, he or she may believe they should be scared, too.
Parents may be fearful of the dentist for the following reasons:
- Bad experience at dentist
- Shame about tooth decay and neglect
- Fear of pain for their child
- Anxiety over costs of dental care
Address your fears where your baby can't hear. The less your infant fears the dentist, the easier dental treatments will be for your child and the healthier their teeth will be throughout their life.
At the first dental visit, your dentist may want the hygienist to clean your baby's teeth. They may apply fluoride to protect your infant's teeth. Even though your child may cry and wiggle during the procedures, stay positive and calm.
Tooth cleaning and fluoride application in infancy can help prevent future pain, chewing problems, and tooth decay. By remaining positive and supportive during your baby's preventive dental treatments, you help protect your infant from future tooth pain and suffering.
3. Make a Commitment to Offer Healthy Rewards
During daily life, it's common to offer babies sweet treats when they comply with guidance or stay quiet. Well-meaning relatives may also want to indulge your child with donuts. You may let your baby take a sip of your sweetened soda when you're out shopping or at home on the phone.
Take care of your baby's teeth and your own by sipping on water instead of soda. If your baby wants a sip, the water is healthier. Keep other healthy snacks on hand to replace candy, cookies, and ice cream. Replace tooth-decaying treats with healthier foods like fruit and yogurt bites.
After a successful dental visit, avoid taking your child out for ice cream or a cookie haul at the bakery. Use the following activities to reward your baby after dental visits:
- Trip to park or zoo
- Visit to library or bookstore for new books
- Session of finger-painting or sidewalk-chalk drawing
- Playtime at indoor activity gym
When you reward your young child with enriching activities rather than sweet treats after dental visits, they will develop positive memories of dental care days. Then, your child will associate the dentist's office with good experiences and regard dental treatment as a routine part of their life.
Schedule your baby's first dental office visit in Statesville, North Carolina by contacting the dental office of Joseph M. Perry, D.D.S., P.A. today. Our dental practice offers caring, compassionate dental care for children throughout Statesville and the surrounding regions including Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Hickory.