Early Dental Care

The Importance of Early Dental Care and Pediatric Dentistry

It's never too early to start paying attention to your child's oral health. In fact, a dentist can even be a good resource for information about oral development before teething starts. As your pediatric dentist in Waldorf, MD, Dr. Christian Johnson has put together these important recommendations about what to do to encourage a healthy smile throughout early childhood.


Infant Tooth Development and Teething

A baby's teeth begin developing before birth, even though people are generally born without teeth. They continue development throughout the first couple years of life as they grow in, until the full set of primary teeth have come in. All the primary teeth should erupt by the age of three. Before teething starts, begin taking care of baby's oral health by cleaning the gums gently with a damp cloth. Continue this until toddlerhood, at which point you can discuss moving to brushing with the dentist.


First Pediatric Dental Visit

The American Dental Association recommends parents bring their children in for an initial visit with a dentist around the time of the child's first birthday. Here's what to expect at an initial visit with your Waldorf, MD, dentist.


  • An examination to determine if there are any developmental or health issues to discuss

  • Consultation about the growth of the child's teeth and tips about effective oral hygiene for young children

  • Discussion with you and your child about brushing as appropriate



It's important to remember that young children experience a lot of jaw growth very quickly. That makes it vital that they see a dentist regularly to stay on top of any developmental issues that arise during early childhood. Visits to the dentist early have also been shown to prevent dental anxiety by helping the child build a trusting relationship with dental professionals.


Teething Pain Relief

One of the most common problems experienced during teething is pain from the eruption of multiple teeth at once. Infants and toddlers often chew to stimulate the jaw and alleviate discomfort related to this process. If you're looking for ways to minimize your child's discomfort productively, try out these tips:


  • Rub baby's gums gently with a clean finger

  • Chill a teething ring and give it to your infant—remember to wash it thoroughly between uses, too!

  • Place a wet, cold cloth on the gums, the back of a chilled spoon works too



In general, the cold will numb pain just like it does for common injuries. Most infants and toddlers won't sit with an ice pack, though, so a cold teething ring is usually a great option.


Preventing Tooth Decay

The best medicine is prevention, and the first goal of pediatric dentistry is to help parents and kids build the healthy habits that minimize tooth decay all through a patient's life. As a parent, here's what you can do to encourage your children's oral health:


  • Limit sugary snacks and drinks

  • Keep the child away from sugar at night especially because saliva production slows during sleep, allowing sugar residue to remain in the mouth

  • Avoid letting the infant sleep with a bottle if the drink is sugary—use a pacifier or water instead

  • As children grow, encourage them to enjoy treats promptly instead of drawing them out over a long period—the longer they are exposing themselves to sugar, the more risk there is involved



Make an Appointment with Your Local Dentist Today

Don't wait to get your child started on the path to lifelong healthy smiles. Contact us today to set an appointment for a cleaning with your dentist in Waldorf, MD, Dr. Johnson. At the appointment, you'll get more information that will help you keep making healthy decisions as well as the chance to ask any questions you have.