When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?

mother brushing with daughterYour child’s first dental visit is an important step toward a lifetime of good oral care, but do you know when you should start taking your child to the dentist? It may be earlier than you think.

When Should My Child Start Seeing the Dentist?

You should take your child to the dentist for the first time when they have their first tooth or by their first birthday at the latest.

Why is This Visit Important?

The first visit will help introduce your child to the dentist’s office and the importance of oral care at an early age. It allows the dentist to detect any problems such as decay or issues with your child’s gums, bite, or jaw as early as possible. You’ll also be able to get information about your child’s at-home oral hygiene routine and learn about any habits such as putting your child to bed with a bottle of milk or formula that could cause decay or other dental issues.

What Can I Do to Help Prepare My Child for Their First Dental Visit?

Your dentist and their staff should help make your child feel comfortable. You can help by trying some of the following tips to help prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist’s office:

Practice at Home

Use your child’s dolls or stuffed animals to demonstrate what the dentist might do.

Read a Book

Buy or check out a children’s book that shows a favorite character visiting the dentist.

Pick a Favorable Time

If your child naps, make sure your appointment doesn’t interfere with their regular nap time. This could make your child tired and cranky before they ever get to the dentist’s office.

How Can I Establish Good At-Home Oral Care Habits for My Child?

The following tips will help you take care of your child’s teeth and gums between dental visits:

Clean Gums

Before your child has teeth, use a clean, damp cloth to clean their gums.

Brush When a Tooth Comes In

When your child first has a tooth, brush using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. Once your child is old enough to spit out toothpaste (usually around age 2), start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.

Skip Bedtime Bottles

Don’t put your child down at bedtime or for a nap with milk, formula, juice, or other sweet liquid.

Help with Flossing

Start teaching good flossing habits as soon as your child has 2 teeth adjacent to one another.

Limit Sugary Foods & Drinks

Avoid giving your child sweetened drinks, fruit juice, and hard or sticky candy, all of which promote tooth decay.

Your child’s dentist will probably recommend that you bring them in every six months for an exam. This will ensure that any problem is detected as early as possible when it’s most easily corrected.

If you’re planning your child’s first dental visit or they need follow-up care, make an appointment today with Cedar Mountain Dental in Newington, Connecticut. We’ll provide top-level care for your child and continue doing so for years to come.