Early dental care establishes the foundation for a lifetime of dental health. But many new parents don’t know when they should start taking their child to the dentist. You take them to the pediatrician for well visits according to the recommended schedule, but when should dental visits start? How often should they go in for routine cleanings and exams? Learn the answers to these questions and more.
The First Dental Appointment
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that your baby see the dentist sometime between 6 and 12 months. It is also stated that children should have their first dental appointment within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth.
What Age Should My Baby’s First Tooth Appear?
The average age for tooth eruption is between 6 and 12 months. Some babies may get teeth earlier than 6 months, and others may not get teeth until after 12 months. It is nothing to worry about if your baby doesn’t get teeth within the normal range, but consult a dentist if your baby still has no teeth by 18 months.
What Does the First Appointment Entail?
The first dental appointment for an infant or toddler will typically consist of an introduction to the dental office and the concept of a dental cleaning and exam. A very brief exam will be conducted to ensure that the teeth and mouth are healthy. We will only do as much as your baby is comfortable with. The goal is to make it a positive and fun experience.
When Should I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth?
You should begin oral care even before your baby has any teeth. Start by cleaning their gums with a clean washcloth or a silicone infant toothbrush once a day. Then when their first tooth erupts, start brushing it with a soft bristled infant toothbrush and a small dab of fluoride toothpaste. As more teeth erupt, be sure to brush each one thoroughly but gently. The goal is to remove any food residue that may turn into plaque.
How Can I Keep My Child’s Teeth Healthy As They Grow?
There are two key elements to keeping your child’s teeth healthy. The first is brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. Flossing is usually recommended around the age of 2 and older. The second is taking them to the dentist every 6 months for cleanings and exams. Caring for their teeth daily and getting periodic professional cleanings is the ideal combination to maintain dental health.
As children grow it is important for them to learn to take care of their own teeth. Teach your child how to brush and floss their own teeth when they are able. Assist with brushing in the early years when they are still learning and be sure to go back over their teeth yourself to get any spots they may have missed. Establish a routine of brushing in the morning and at night and flossing at night to remove any food residue that may be lodged between the teeth. When the routine is ingrained in them from a young age they are likely to keep up the habit as they grow.
Toland Dental Provides Early Dental Care
Give your child a healthy start with the help of Toland Dental. We see patients as young as 6 months for dental cleanings and exams. Our caring and compassionate dental team will help your child feel comfortable and calm, introducing them to the basics of dental care. You are welcome to stay with your child at all times to reassure and comfort them. Starting dental care early and keeping up with regularly scheduled appointments helps your child to get used to the routine, and lessens the chances that they will develop dental anxiety.