Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

Parents often ask when their children should first visit the dentist for a checkup and cleaning. They are also often surprised to find that they have already missed the suggested age. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association both agree that children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. This is a shock to many parents who do not think to take their children to the dentist before the age of three or four!

There are specific goals that dentists have regarding children coming in for a dental visit at such a young age.

  • Get them used to the dentist. By allowing children to come into the dentist’s office from the age of one, children will not associate the dentist as a stranger. S/he will be a familiar face, thus taking out much of the anxiety that many children associate with dental visits.
  • Educate parents about the proper care of an infant’s and toddler’s developing teeth. There are different techniques that can be used for “brushing” the few teeth that a one-year old has, and it is helpful to parents for dentists to demonstrate these methods in order to prevent cavities from developing in a child’s mouth.
  • Discuss and break bad oral habits. The use of a bottle at night while a child is falling asleep is a very bad habit. Allowing milk to be in the mouth and not rinsed or brushed away leaves the teeth very susceptible to cavities. The use of a pacifier and thumb sucking are also habits that need to be broken after a child’s first birthday. While these are seemingly innocent habits to pacify and comfort a child, they can lead to serious dental concerns in the future that will cost a great deal of money to correct.
  • Identifying the link between diet and oral health. It is unfortunate, but many parents choose to give their children sugary juice, sweet tea, and even soda at a very early age. This puts developing teeth at a very high risk for cavities and decay because of the high sugar content and acidity of these beverages. The old adage says, “You are what you eat.” That does not only relate to your waistline – is also relates to the health of your teeth, gums, and entire mouth.

At Group Health Dental, we want all of our patients to achieve the highest standard in oral health. By choosing to have your child visit the dentist for his or her first appointment at an early age, you are setting your child up for a successful future. The health of your mouth is a direct link between the health of your body, and this is no different for young children. Please call today to schedule your child’s first dental appointment.

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