At What Age Should My Child First See The Dentist?
Great Dental Care Habits Start Early!
When a baby gets her teeth, it isn't always a pleasant experience for the parents or the child. It's exciting to know that it won't be long until your baby can eat solid foods, but the sleepless nights getting to this point aren't pleasant. It also causes parents to wonder when it's time for their child to visit the dentist for the first time, especially with so many varying opinions.
Generally, the first tooth erupts around six months, sometimes later and sometimes earlier. It's important for parents to realize that it's necessary to take care of these teeth just as you would adult, or secondary teeth. Practicing good dental hygienics early helps to develop a routine for the child to utilize for the rest of her life when it comes to her oral health. However, parents oftentimes feel that the first set of teeth isn’t important because another group will pop through later.
Despite many pediatricians informing parents that they don't need to take their child to see the dentist until 2.5 years, this isn't what leading organizations in pediatric health advise. If you're wondering the answer to the question, "when should my child first see the dentist," you might be shocked to realize that as soon as your baby gets a tooth, you should be scheduling your first appointment. This allows the dentist to evaluate if the tooth is coming in properly. He will also be able to recommend the best products for children and help you to devise a course of action to keep your child's teeth healthy. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that you should not take your kid to the dentist for her first visit any later than a year. After the first checkup, the child will need to visit the dentist once every six months for a cleaning and checkup.
Importance of Early Dental Checkups
Children should see the dentist this early because when issues arise with the primary teeth, it may affect the second set, too. In addition, babies need to see the dentist this early for the following reasons:
- Can identify and correct problems with teeth that may affect chewing
- Helps to prevent issues with speech development early on
- Promotes a healthy smile early on
- Can detect genetic and other problems sooner
- Prevents issues with space for permanent teeth
- Helps parents learn good habits for taking care of the baby's teeth
Caring for Your Baby's Teeth
Before your child's first tooth appears, you should be cleaning her gums with a warm, wet washcloth. This gets her used to something in her mouth while also getting rid of any milk residue that can affect the gums. After the first tooth emerges, it's important to find a toothbrush meant for children of that age along with a training, or non-fluoride, toothpaste. Brush her teeth at least twice per day. Clean her gums where there aren't teeth as well. As soon as she gets her second tooth, you should begin flossing.
Developing and encouraging good dental habits early along with regular visits to the visit can prevent many oral health issues. It also creates for life-long habits that can prevent gum disease and other serious dental conditions. Dr. Jon D. Smith specializes in quality dental care for smiles of all ages; learn all about our services!