Are you the parent of a baby or toddler? Are you confused about when your child should visit the dentist and when you should start brushing your child’s teeth with a toothpaste containing fluoride? If so, you are not alone. Caring for your baby or toddler’s dental health can be confusing. However, it is very important to provide the proper dental care for your child while he or she is a baby/toddler. This preventive care will go a long way in safeguarding their future dental health.
Most dental experts agree that babies should visit the dentist for an oral risk assessment by the time they reach their first birthday. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently offered new guidelines for the oral care of babies and toddlers. These new guidelines were published online in the journal Pediatrics, on August 25, 2014. According to the new guidelines, all children should start using toothpaste with fluoride as soon as the teeth appear. This is regardless of their risk for developing cavities. However, it is important to note that the amount recommended for use does vary according to the child’s age. The AAP recommends using a portion the size of a grain of rice for children under the age of three. Starting at age three, they recommend using a pea-sized portion of fluoride toothpaste. The AAP guidelines also recommend the application of a fluoride varnish by a dentist every three to six months, as soon as the teeth appear.
The changes to the guidelines were due, in part, to the problem of tooth decay in children. Currently, tooth decay is one of the most chronic diseases affecting American children. Additionally, many pediatric dentists are seeing chronic tooth decay in children under the age of three. The new AAP guidelines do not recommend the use of fluoride rinses in children under the age of six. This is due to a concern about the risk for children under the age of six swallowing more than the recommended levels of fluoride.
Caring for your child’s dental health is one of the most important jobs you have as a parent of a young child. If you have questions about caring for your child’s dental health, talk to your dentist today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park, Green Dental of Alexandria
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