Angie's List: Children's dental Health

Teething time is a fussy time for kids, but once they're in, those pearly whites should be an important part of a child's health care routine.

Starting those dental visits early not only helps make healthy smiles, it can help cut down on fear later in life.

At 19 months old, little Reagan may not be a fan of going to the dentist now, but it's still a good idea.

“It may be surprising to many parents, but the American Dental Association actually recommends that the child start visiting the dentist after they receive their first tooth or right after their first birthday,” explains Founder of Angie’s List Angie Hicks. “And what is key for parents to understand is that this can create really good healthy habits for their child's lifetime.”

“When you think about 30 some percent of 3 year olds come to the dentist with tooth decay already those are the kids, you wish you'd gotten to at 12 to 15 months and had an opportunity to talk to the parents about successful preventative dentistry,” says Dr. Charles Poland a Pediatric Dentist.

Choosing the right dentist can help ease fears down the road. Reagan's dad is glad they started early.

“I'm going to be honest with you,” says Reagan’s Father, Clark Rehme. “When I was a kid, I would always throw up when I went to the dentist actually it was a pretty much a regular occurrence. You know you get to a point where I think especially pediatric dentist know how to deal with this and when you are a kid you don't really know what's going on.”

“When looking for a dentist you want to find someone who relates well to children so whether you are using a family dentist or a pediatric dentist, the key here is finding someone that is gentle, relates well to the kids and even talks in their language,” says Angie.

“They learn that this is a fun thing that can be made easy and not something to be fearful of,” says Dr. Poland. “For instance, it's not uncommon for us to count the teeth we talk a lot about pizza chewers, bean biters, chicken nugget nibblers and we don't clean teeth here we shine smiles. It's all kept in a positive fun kind of thing.”

Here are some good dental care tips for parents. Before baby's teeth come in, parents can gently clean gums with a cloth after feeding. Also, avoid putting pacifiers in your mouth to "clean" them. That just passes cavity-causing germs to babies. And cut down on the juice to prevent tooth decay.

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