The best time for that first visit may be earlier than you think. The American Dental Association recommends regular dental check-ups within six months of the eruption of the first tooth, and no later than the child’s first birthday.
The first visit to a dental office should be a positive and even fun experience. First visits are mostly about getting kids used to the dentist’s chair and educating parents about how to care for a baby’s teeth.
Oral health is such an important part of a child’s overall health, yet it can easily be overlooked in young children. Begin oral care early – wipe your baby’s gums with a wet washcloth or a gauze pad after each feeding. Babies and toddlers should finish their naptime and bedtime bottles before going to bed – never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices, or sweetened liquids, or a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey.
There are a number of problems that affect the oral health of children, including tooth decay, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking, and early tooth loss. Even though baby teeth are eventually replaced with permanent teeth, keeping baby teeth healthy is important to a child’s overall health and well-being.
Beginning at 2 years of age, the standard every-six-month dental visit is recommended. When your child is between 4 and 6, expect your dentist to take a first set of x-rays to check for cavities between the teeth. Also, when your child is around age 7, the dentist will likely suggest an orthodontic evaluation.
In the end, it’s the basics – brush twice a day, floss daily, and get regular dental check-ups – that have the most impact on your child’s smile.