When Should Kids Start Going to the Dentist?
When it comes to parenthood, everyone is in the process of learning what is best for their child. How many vegetables should my child eat? When should my child start talking? What’s the best way to potty train? When should my child start going to the dentist?
We might not have all the answers and each child is different, but we are a pediatric dental office so we are confident in when kids should start going to the dentist.
Get It Done in Year One
It’s important to prevent bacteria build-up and tooth decay from the moment you see your child’s first tooth. From the ages of six and 12 months, baby teeth are the most vulnerable to tooth decay. Try to schedule your child’s dental appointment before their first birthday in order to:
- Build healthy dental habits
- Foster good nutrition by permitting proper chewing
- Aid speech development
- Help proper development of permanent teeth by saving space for them
Benefits of an Early Dental Visit
1 + 1 = zero. Okay, we know it doesn’t make much sense but hang in there with us! ONE dental visit plus ONE baby tooth equals ZERO cavities! Doesn’t that sound great?!
If your child doesn’t have a tooth yet, don’t worry! Our first dental visits are designed to educate you – the parent – on proper oral hygiene care for your child. Also, we’ll discuss habits, diet, dental health, and what to anticipate with your child’s dental development.
The year-one dental visit can actually save money. A study in the journal Pediatrics showed that children who have their first dental visit before age one have 40 percent lower dental costs in their first five years than children who do not due to the cost of dental and medical procedures that may be necessary as a result of poor oral health.
10 Tips to Help it Go Smoothly
- Find a kid-friendly dentist. Dentists who cater to children have techniques to keep them calm and comfortable during the appointment. Their offices and tools are designed with kids in mind.
- Practice brushing and flossing at home. Let your child get used to having his/her teeth brushed and flossed before they go in for their appointment.
- Eat healthy. Start your child’s oral health off the right way by fixing meals with healthy foods that are low in sugar, which will prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- Act-it-out. Pretend dental visits with your child’s stuffed animals. Let them pretend to be the patient and the dentist.
- Encourage questions. The more you and your child talk about the dentist, the more chances you have to reassure and resolve fears before they are in the chair.
- Educate. Start explaining to them why oral health is important. It is never too early to teach them healthy habits.
- Have fun. Get your child excited and involve them by allowing them to choose their color of toothbrush and flavor of toothpaste.
- Do some reading. Ready happy stories about going to the dentist such as: The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan Berenstain, Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth: A Maisy First Experience Book by Lucy Cousins, ABC Dentist by Harriet Ziefert
- Schedule a “meet and greet.” Have an introductory visit. Meet the dentist and staff, tour the office, and see all of the tools—with no pressure to get in the chair!
- Be a good role model. You are your child’s biggest role model. Speak positively about going to the dentist no matter what experiences you have had.