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Dentistry for the New Mom and Dad

My wife and I are having our first baby very soon, and I know that I’ll be looking for all kinds of answers to help me along the way in raising my little girl to be as healthy and strong as she possibly can be. I will look to others for guidance and answers as much as possible, and as a dentist here in Flagstaff, I also hope to provide some answers for other young moms and dads.

I get these questions all the time, and maybe you’ve had them as well. When should I bring my child to the dentist for the first time? Is fluoride safe for my child? What are fluoride vitamins? When should I begin flossing my child’s teeth? I would be happy to discuss these questions and more with anyone, so feel free to reach out!

When should I bring my child to the dentist for the first time?

The simple answer to this question is around one year of age. The lengthier answer is, your child will likely start teething around six to eight months. These new teeth are immediately exposed to oral bacteria that will start to break down the teeth and form cavities. Cavity-causing bacteria love the sugar that is in high amounts in breast milk, so learning how to properly clean these new teeth and prevent cavities is very important for your child at a young age.

What will my baby’s first dental visit look like?

Our office philosophy is all about being comfortable and relaxed while you are with us. We will give you a tour of the office the first time you and your family come in. I will answer any questions that you may have regarding your child’s oral health, followed by an oral exam. This is often the scary part for the child, so we like to take things slow. Often, we skip the exam portion all together and just allow your child to get comfortable in the office setting for the first time. Building a strong relationship and setting the scene of a comfortable place at a young age is my number one goal. Communication, education and comfort for you and your child will lead to healthy, beautiful smiles!

Is fluoride safe for my child?

Yes, yes, yes! Fluoride toothpaste, in small amounts, is very healthy for your child’s developing teeth. Also, because Flagstaff is a community without fluoridated water, the American Dental Association recommends we also provide fluoride vitamins for children during their early development as early as six months of age. Now, understand, anything in large amounts can be detrimental to your health, and this includes fluoride, so regulating the amount that is ingested is a must. A “smear” of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush is recommended up until age three. A “pea-sized” amount is recommended from three to six years. This will help avoid any fluorosis complications that may lead to brittle teeth! 

When should my child be able to brush on his/her own?

The easy answer: when your child has the manual dexterity to do so. This may not be so simple, so I always tell my patients that by the time children can tie their own shoes, they are probably able to adequately clean their own teeth. This may mean helping brush until five to seven years of age. If you’d like to come in to learn the best ways to help brush your child’s teeth, please give us a call and one of our wonderful hygienists or I will be happy to go over this with you. FBN

By Brad Lerud, D.D.S.

I look forward to meeting you and your family! Please feel free to reach out to me, Dr. Brad Lerud, D.D.S., at our office Peak Family Dental Care in Flagstaff. Our number is 928-774-2500. I would be happy to sit down and have a consultation with you and your family regarding any questions you may have about you and your family’s oral health.

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