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    Pediatric dental care

    4 min. read

    What’s the difference between pediatric dental care and adult dental care?


    The easy answer: Because kids have smaller mouths and smaller teeth, pediatric dentistry requires different tools and processes (i.e. Pediatric dentists are trained to work with screaming, squirming and biting). The make-up of a child’s teeth and gums is also softer than an adult’s, causing a very different list of potential issues to watch out for.

    The less-easy answer: A child’s mouth undergoes lots of changes between the time they begin teething through the time they grow “adult” teeth. And within this window of time, it’s important to have a professional that can monitor these changes, to protect against issues like over-crowding and premature decay, before the “baby” teeth even reach the surface. In this way, pediatric dentistry is more about prevention than it is about reaction.  

    Your child’s first visit to the pediatric dentist


    It feels like you were just taking them home from the hospital. How could it already be time for their first visit to the dentist? If your baby’s first teeth have appeared, or they’re approaching their first birthday, it’s time to schedule their first visit to the dentist.* This is where pediatric dental care comes in.

    What’s a pediatric dentist?


    A pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in oral care for babies and children. They focus on the prevention and early detection of oral health conditions. They’ll also help make your child’s first experience with a dentist a positive one.

    What can a pediatric dentist help with?


    It’s all about prevention in this early stage of your child’s life. Here’s what to expect from a visit to a pediatric dentist.


    • Early detection of tooth decay
    • Program for looking after your child’s teeth at home
    • Information on future growth and development
    • Information on thumb, finger and pacifier habits
    • Preventing damage to your child’s mouth and teeth
    • Positive first experience of going to the dentist

    A closer look


    The two key things that pediatric dental care will help your child with are the prevention of tooth decay and the healthy development of primary teeth.

    1. Preventing tooth decay


    Tooth decay can occur as soon as your baby stops drinking breast milk and transitions to other drinks and solids. It’s caused by bacteria from sugars and carbohydrates that, over time, form colonies on and between teeth and trigger decay.*

    2. Healthy primary teeth development


    Primary teeth are your child’s first teeth and they pave the way for their future oral health. They help with speech development, enable chewing and save space for permanent teeth.**

    Mom holding baby smiling

    When should I take my child to see a pediatric dentist?


    It probably feels like it’s a bit early to go to the dentist. The truth is that if your baby’s first teeth have appeared (normally between 6-12 months), or they’re approaching their first birthday, it’s best to schedule a visit to the pediatric dentist.


    Following the first visit, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends regular check-ups twice a year. Your child can continue to see a pediatric dentist right through to their teens. ***

    Healthy brushing habits at home


    In between visits to the pediatric dentist, you can look after your child’s teeth and gums by brushing them regularly.


    Before teeth appear, simply clean your baby’s gums with a soft infant brush or cloth and water.


    Once teeth appear, brush your baby’s teeth twice a day with a brush that’s made for their age-group and training toothpaste that's low in, or free of, fluroride until your child is able to spit.


    Taking care of your child’s teeth at home, combined with regular pediatric dental care, set your child up for a bright smile in the future.

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