Consumer Watch: How to introduce your children to the dentist

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 7:01 PM

(WHAS11) -- Valentine's Day often means more sugar coated candy. With more sugar, comes more cavities. At what age is it appropriate to start taking your child to the dentist?

According to the American Dental Association, 75 percent of people have a fear of the dentist and some of them turn into phobias. Taking your child to the dentist while they are still young can help to ease those fears.

"The gold standard is 12 months of age..." Pediatric Dentist Dr. Charles Poland said. Dr. Poland says the first visit should be a positive experience introducing the child to his or her dental home.

Angie Hicks from Angie's List says that it is a visit that many of us adults never got as a child.

"The vast majority of Americans admit to having some fear of going to the dentist and that is why it's important to introduce your child to the dentist before they have a chance to develop these fears so that they can get used to going to the dentist and feel comfortable," Hicks said.

Healthy baby teeth will allow your child to chew and eat properly, help them speak clearly and guide adult teeth into place. It could also keep your child in class. The National Oral Health Resource Center says 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental illness and visits.

First time father Clark Rehme first took his daughter Reagan to the dentist when she was 19-months-old.

"When you are a kid you don't really know what's going on so you just go with the flow anything that is different you don't like and you just kind of grit your teeth and bare it and it goes quick, but after-wards she is always fine she cuddles up to the dentist and they make sure to give her a sticker and she enjoys that," Rehme said.

If you've ever put a pacifier in your mouth to clean it before giving it to your child, don't. Cavity causing germs are often passed to infants and toddlers this way. It is important to start cleaning early, to get the little one used to the experience. It can start with a clean soft cloth on the babies gums and advance to brushing with a soft toothbrush.
 

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