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Early dental checkups 'vital' for protecting dental health
Updated: 12/16/2008 6:00:25 PM

Early dental checkups When it comes to your children's dental health, it is best to take them to a dentist for a dental checkup by their first birthday, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

The AAPD points out that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the country, yet it can largely be prevented through proper dental hygiene and dental care.

Ideally, babies should begin to see a dentist when they are between 6 and 12 months old, the AAPD recommends.

In addition, the group advises that parents should consult with a pediatric dentist to determine their child's fluoride needs. Exposure to fluoride can help strengthen children's teeth.

Monitoring a child's diet can be another important way to promote dental health, with balanced eating habits and infrequent snacking two cornerstones of healthy teeth.

"Proper preventive care, fluoridation use and a balanced diet are key to the oral and overall health of every child," commented AAPD president Dr. Phil H. Hunke.

Children generally begin to lose their baby teeth around age 4, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

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