When Should Your Child First Visit the Dentist: It’s probably sooner than you think
Visiting the dentist is one of childhood’s many milestones. But, parents are often unsure when they should bring their child to the dentist for the first time.
Should we wait until all their teeth come in? Should we wait until a problem occurs? These are common questions that parents have, but the answer is actually “no.”
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that a child’s first dentist visit should be when the first tooth erupts, no later than age 1.
First visits are about getting kids used to the dentist’s chair and educating parents about how to care for baby teeth.
The Learning Curve
Visiting the dentist for the first time can be scary for kids. Family dentists will explain each step of the checkup to your child and show them the tools that will be used.
The dentist will help educate you and your child about how to brush teeth properly. She will discuss the importance of eating healthy and drinking plenty of water. Depending on your child’s age, the dentist may polish your child’s teeth.
Taking It Home
The first dentist visit is an educational experience for you and the kids. It’s so important for you to take what you learned and create a dental health routine to put your child on the path to a bright, healthy smile.
Be sure to especially follow these tips:
- Reduce the risk of tooth alignment problems by encouraging toddlers to stop drinking from bottles by age 1 and sippy cups by age 2. Also, limit the pacifier by age 2, and stop using it by age 4.
- Pick out a soft, kid-sized toothbrush
- Use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste with fluoride
- Help toddlers brush after breakfast and before bed
- Avoid sugary snacks and drinks
If you child isn’t able to brush, rinse his or her mouth out with water to wash away food particles. And, call your local water department to find out if your water contains fluoride.
After your child’s second birthday, you should schedule dental checkups every six months. Between age 4 and 6 is when the first x-rays are taken to check on cavities. During the visits or at any time, be sure to ask the dentist lots questions.
Give us a call if you’re ready to bring your child to the dentist. We would love to help care for your family.