Ask The Pediatrician: Kids & Dental Care

Izabella Green may be small, but she has one big smile and Dr. Clancy McNally wants to make sure it stays that way.

Dr. McNally knows there can never be too many reminders. She also knows it's important to start early - maybe even earlier than you think.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Dental Academy say your child's first dental visit should be six months after their first tooth comes in. For most kids that's between a year and 18 months of age.

And when those teeth start coming in, Dr. McNally says begin wiping them down every day with water and a plain wash cloth. As more teeth come in, you can switch over to a toothbrush.

And if you want to avoid problems at the dentist, you may need to change some habits.

"Maybe giving them water before bed instead of the formula or milk. Try not to put them to bed with a bottle," said Dr. McNally. "Letting them carry sippy cups around during the day, especially filled with juice or milk or those kinds of things, the more they're there sipping on it, the more those sugars will just sit on their teeth."

As kids get older, limit those sugary snacks - especially chewy candy, fruit snacks and raisins.

Teissa Green says, "We go to the dentist and brush our teeth every night and we floss every day."

Izabella's mom wants to avoid any extra trips to the dentist to make sure her daughter's healthy smile stays that way.

Dr. McNally says it's important parents not show children their own fear of going to the dentist. If you make the experience a good one from the start, they won't have fears later on. It's also important to make sure your own oral health is in good standing.

About the Author...
Serese Cole
Serese is no stranger to the Midwest. She was born and raised in Kansas City and after years of moving from state to state - has called Nebraska home the last decade.

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