Do you recall the first time you went to the dentist? I don’t. In fact, I’ve been going to the dentist for as long as I can remember. Most children should have a similar story and we are frequently asked what age they should begin regular check-ups.
A recent study found that the average age children first see the dentist is between their 2nd and 3rd birthdays. This is well above what pediatric dentists recommend.
In fact, most children should be starting regular check-ups before their first birthday. Since every child develops at his or her own pace, it’s difficult to narrow this down to a precise month or week in development. A good rule of thumb is to plan on bringing your baby in to the dentist within 6 months of their first tooth sprouting.
Should you take your child to your dentist?
Yes, if your dentist also specializes in pediatric dentistry. Pediatric dentists, like the team at our American Fork dentist office, go through special on-going training and education, learning about dealing with infant and toddler patients and how to care for their little teeth.
What’s the harm in waiting a few years?
Since babies sprout their “baby teeth” that will eventually fall out as permanent teeth move-in, it can make sense to some to hold-off on dental appointments for their infants. We do not recommend this at all.
Not only can your child still develop plaque, cavities or gum disease on their baby teeth, starting them at the dentist early can help them become more comfortable in our office. This also acclimates the child to having their teeth cared for at an early age.
What can I do to care for my child’s teeth?
Dental care doesn’t start when the teeth sprout, it starts shortly after birth. Before teeth have started, run a clean, wet washcloth over their gums to stimulate them and remove germs.
Once teeth have started popping up, use mostly water with a dab of toothpaste on a baby toothbrush to clean the teeth. Make sure you ask your child’s pediatric dentist in American Fork for tips on caring for your child’s teeth.
How do I know if something is wrong with my child’s teeth?
If teeth grow in discolored or deformed, you should have a pediatric dentist check them out immediately.
If you notice your child’s teeth grow in normally then become pocked or discolored, they may have bottle mouth. Bottle mouth occurs most often from laying your child down with a bottle all night. If you see this, please visit your pediatric dentist immediately.
Oral hygiene is difficult enough for most patients to handle for themselves. When it comes to regularly taking care of their children’s teeth, it pays to build the habit and help your children keep the habit from the very start. Trust me, your children and their dentists will thank you for it later.