In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday. It is best to bring the child to one of the parents hygiene appointments, so that the child can see the process and become more comfortable with the dental environment.
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of fluoridated toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your dentist. Continuing the habit may affect the alignment of the permanent teeth.
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.