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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


'Pediatric Dentistry', formerly known as pedodontics, is a specialized branch of dentistry for the treatment of children.

Dental Care for Young Children: Summary of Best Practice Recommendations

When should parents begin to clean their baby’s teeth? “The sooner, the better!” The [American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry;] states that parents should begin dental cleaning at birth, by cleaning their child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water. Unless it is advised by your child’s pediatric dentist, fluoridated toothpaste is not recommended until 2-3 years of age.

When should children first visit a dentist? "First visit by first birthday" According to the [American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry;] children should first visit the dentist when they receive their first tooth or by the child’s first birthday. Early dental care is important for dental prevention in the future. However, dental problems can begin early. A major dental concern for young children is Early Childhood Caries, also known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries.

How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing?To prevent tooth decay in young children, the [American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry;] recommends that children be encouraged to begin drinking from a cup as they approach their first birthday. At nap times or at night, children should not fall asleep with a bottle. It is recommended that nighttime breast-feeding be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt. Drinking juice or other sugary drinks from a bottle should always be avoided. When such drinks are offered, they should be served in a cup.

What is the importance of baby teeth anyway? Primary teeth serve three important functions: they allow children to chew their food, aiding in proper digestion; they serve in proper pronunciation of sounds and formation of speech; and they establish and preserve the space and create the architecture for the developing adult teeth, which form as buds off of primary teeth.

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