At What Age Should A Child See A Dentist?
As a parent, you want to protect your child from everything that will hurt him. You want to ensure that he’s healthy and happy. It’s important to pay attention to his dental health starting at a very young age. Here are the recommendations for children’s dental visits.
When the first tooth appears…
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you take your child to the dentist for a first checkup as soon as his first tooth erupts. He should return for checkups every six months afterwards. Though baby teeth are temporary, their health is very important. Your child will have his first teeth until he’s at least five, and they provide a foundation for adult teeth.
The first visit puts your child at ease.
Visiting the dentist at a very young age is beneficial for more reasons than just dental health. Your child will become accustomed to the dental office, the dentist and his staff. When they start at a young age, the experience of having a checkup and cleaning become routine and kids learn to look forward to visiting their dentist.
What to expect at your child’s first dental visit.
Your dentist will perform an exam to feel for your child’s remaining baby teeth. He may take X-rays if he is concerned about the placement of the teeth. Your dentist will talk to you about oral hygiene and show you how to brush your child’s teeth and gums to keep them healthy. He may recommend a fluoride supplement, depending on your location and the amount of fluoride in your tap water. Your dentist may also recommend sealants for your child’s teeth, once all of his baby teeth have appeared.
Dental visits in addition to normal checkups.
In addition to regular exams and cleanings every six months, your child should see the dentist if any of the following occurs:
- Tooth pain
- Dental injury that results in chipping, cracking or a tooth falling out
- Discoloration of teeth
- Baby or permanent teeth that don’t descend
- Habitual thumb-sucking past the age of three
Daily care of your child’s first teeth
Before your child’s first teeth erupt, wipe his gums gently with a clean, damp cloth at least twice per day. You can also use a soft toothbrush specially made for infants. Once the first tooth appears, brush it and the gums gently with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristle children’s toothbrush. Use only a very small amount of toothpaste and make sure your child spits out any excess.
Ensure that your child is getting proper nutrition for healthy teeth. A balanced diet with strict limits on sugary foods and drinks will set your child up for a lifetime of dental health.