When Should A Child Go To The Dentist For The First Time?

When Should A Child Go To The Dentist For The First Time?

Team Pediatric

Today, pediatric dentists recommend that children have their first dental visit at about the time their first tooth erupts, between the ages of 6 and 12 months. This guideline is a significant change from a few years ago and reflects the newest guidance from the American Dental Association.

Why So Early?

Some parents believe that since a child’s baby teeth eventually fall out, they do not need regular dental care. This misconception can lead to a lifetime of dental health issues for your child, like cavities and gum disease. Starting dental visits in infancy is an excellent way to reinforce your home care habits and ensure that your baby’s teeth are developing properly.

Your Baby’s First Dental Visit

The first dental visit is typically a chance for your baby to become accustomed to the sights, sounds, and new people they will meet in the office. Sometimes the dentist will allow you to hold the child in your lap during the visit.

The dentist will check the baby’s mouth using a mirror, tracking their oral development and the presence of any abnormalities.

The child may receive some preventive care at the first visit, including cleaning the teeth with a soft brush or applying fluoride varnish.

The dentist will instruct you on how to care for your baby’s teeth at home to maximize their chance of growing up with a strong and healthy smile.

Going Forward With Dental Care

Your child should see the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam. As your child grows, they will become accustomed to having their teeth examined and cleaned. They will develop a positive relationship with the dentist and hygienist. They will be less anxious about visiting the dentist in later life.

Children who see pediatric dentists regularly also have fewer dental issues as they grow, leading to better adult dental health that can last a lifetime.

Caring For Your Child’s Teeth at Home

Before your child’s first tooth erupts, wipe their gums twice a day with a soft, damp washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, brush them gently with a baby toothbrush and a smear of children’s fluoride toothpaste. You should brush and floss for your child until six or seven, but let them practice with supervision.

It would be best to avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle of anything but water to prevent “baby bottle tooth decay.”

Call Sunshine Dentistry

Proper attention to dental health during infancy can lead to better outcomes in later years. If your child is older than one year and hasn’t visited the pediatric dentist yet, we can see them anytime.

Call our Cape May Court House, NJ, office at 609-465-5415 to make an appointment for yourself or your child. We look forward to treating your whole family.