Most families do not take their children to the dentist until they are at least two to three years old. However, the latest dental research indicates that this is far too late. Visiting the dentist at an earlier age can build a strong foundation for oral care. Knowing when should a child go to the dentist will help you make sure your children receive proper care through pediatric dentistry services.
When Should a Child Go to the Dentist for a Checkup?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the age of the first dental visit should depend on the age a child gets his or her first teeth. Usually, your baby should go to see the dentist sometime within six months of when their first tooth erupts. However, if your child is late to develop teeth, you should still make sure they see the family dentist by the time they are one year old. At these early visits, your baby simply needs a checkup. It is also a great time to discuss any concerns with the dentist and get tips on what sort of oral hygiene your baby should have.
When Should Your Child Start Getting Teeth Cleanings?
Scheduling your child’s first real dental cleaning can wait until a later age. The time for a first tooth cleaning will usually depend on both your child’s tooth development and their personality. Children who get all of their teeth in at an earlier age will need an earlier cleaning. You may also want to start regular teeth cleanings earlier if your child frequently eats sugary foods that could lead to cavities and require tooth cleanings. Typically, the time for a first cleaning should be somewhere between two to three years of age. Ideally, you will already have had a few checkups at this point, so the dentist should be able to recommend the right time for a cleaning.
Reasons for an Early Start to Dental Visits
Visiting the dentist at such an early age is important because it gives dentists the opportunity to check on early tooth development and correct potential problems early on. Early dental visits are also important because children are less likely to develop phobias when they have been attending the dentist comfortably since they were a baby. A lot of parents ignore early dental visits because they assume primary teeth are not important. However, baby teeth need proper maintenance just like adult teeth. Proper care for primary teeth can help children chew properly, develop speech and language skills, and improve self-confidence. Teaching children to care for their teeth at an early age turns flossing and brushing into habits that will protect your child for the rest of their life. It will also enforce the need to continue to make appointments for general dentistry services throughout their life.
How to Make the First Dental Visit Fun
It is normal for children to feel a little uncertain in new situations, so some kids may get a little worried during their first dental visits. If you want to avoid causing lifelong phobias, you need to make sure your child views the dentist positively. Try to find an experienced pediatric dentist in the area so you can work with someone who has the training needed to handle children. Normalize the experience by taking your child with you to your checkup, reading books about dental health, or watching an educational children’s show about the dentist. Avoid ever using negative language about dentists or implying that dentist visits might be scary. During the visit, make it fun by turning the checkup into a game and providing treats at the end.
At Lovett Dental Gulfgate, we have trained pediatric dental staff who will make sure your little one has a good time at the dentist. Contact Lovett Dental Gulfgate today at 713-847-8822 to start building healthy dental habits at an early age.