Regular visits to the dentist are important to keep your child’s teeth healthy. Some parents wonder what the best age is to begin bringing their child to the dentist and how often they should visit. Below are the answers to these questions and more information about children’s oral health.
What Age Should I Take My Child to the Dentist?
Your child should visit the dentist for the first time by the time they turn one year old or up to six months after their first tooth comes in, whichever happens first. Cavities, tooth decay, and other problems can begin to form as soon as your child’s teeth begin to grow, so you should schedule a dental appointment as soon as you see an erupted tooth.
Babies under one year old can experience oral issues even before their teeth come in. During the teething process, their gums can become red and swollen, which causes discomfort and increased saliva production.
Bacteria can also be transferred from an adult’s mouth to a baby’s through actions like sharing utensils, and this bacteria can lead to early stages of gum disease and tooth decay. A dentist can address these issues early on and stop any serious damage from occurring as well as provide the best course of action for your child in terms of oral care.
How Can I Keep My Child Relaxed at the Dentist?
You can prepare your child ahead of time by explaining to them what is going to happen at the visit so they aren’t surprised and scared by anything unexpected. You can even act out a pretend dentist visit so your child can practice opening their mouth for the dentist and get used to someone looking down at them. Reading a book together about visiting the dentist for the first time can also be helpful.
Schedule the dentist appointment outside of nap time and make sure it is not during a time of the day that your child is usually hungry or tired. Bringing a personal toy or coloring book to the visit can also make them feel more comfortable.
How Can I Help Maintain My Child's Oral Health?
Your dentist will likely give you an infant toothbrush with special toothpaste, so use these tools to gently brush your child’s teeth as soon as their first tooth comes in. If they don’t have teeth yet, wipe their gums with a moist towel after each feeding to reduce germs and bacteria in the mouth.
As your child ages, their dental needs will change. You may begin to see cavities between ages four and six, and you can prevent these by helping them brush their teeth twice every day, floss at least once every day, and keep candy and sugary foods to a minimum.
When you’re ready to take your child to the dentist for the first time, turn to Dr. Thomas Park DDS in Seymour, CT. This entire staff truly cares about your personal comfort throughout your visit and work hard to deliver gentle, pain-free dental services. Call (203) 888-9947 to schedule an appointment or visit their website to learn more.