As a new parent, you certainly want to keep your child as healthy as possible, and that includes their dental care. Though you want to keep your child’s teeth in good condition, many people don’t realize just how early it’s recommended that their kids start seeing a dentist. Here’s what you need to know about when your kids should start seeing a dentist to stave off tooth decay and ensure their teeth are strong and healthy.
Your Child’s First Visit Will Be Earlier Than You Think
Did you know that most parents assume their kids don’t need to start seeing a dentist until they are two years old or older? Did you know that this is actually a lot later than dentists recommend that kids start seeing a dentist? It’s true. As soon as your child gets their first tooth or by their first birthday, whichever is sooner, is when the American Association Of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that kids start seeing a dentist.
Why Should Kids Start Seeing A Dentist So Young?
Children’s teeth start forming while they’re still in the womb and start breaking through the gums when they’re mere months old, usually around the 6 month mark. As soon as your child has teeth, they can start experiencing tooth decay. In fact, tooth decay affects 1 in 5 kids under the age of 5, which is why it’s so important kids start seeing a dentist as soon as they have teeth, to prevent that. 60% of children have their first cavities before they’re even 5 years old, and tooth decay is among the most common diseases in children.
Being proactive about the dental health of your kids will set them up in order to have healthy teeth for life. Prevention is key in order to stave off decay, pain, infection, and other dental issues that can affect not just your child’s dental health, but their overall health, since dental issues can manifest in other parts of your body too.
When kids start seeing a dentist, the dentist will check not just for tooth decay, but also for any injury, white spots, lesions, bleeding, and how their teeth are coming in and developing. If your child has any problems or conditions that are starting to develop, your dentist will be able to catch and treat them before they have the chance to become more serious issues.
Preparing For Your Kid’s First Dental Visit
You can start taking care of your child’s dental health even before it’s time that your kids start seeing a dentist. You can do this by gently cleaning their gums with gauze or a soft cloth and some water. There are also specially designed toothbrushes for young children that are soft, but you’ll want to be careful with the toothpaste, as fluoride can cause teeth that aren’t fully grown to become discolored. By starting with gum-cleaning, you can get your child used to having a daily dental routine even before their first dental visit.
When choosing your pediatric dentist, you’ll want to ensure that they’re someone who is good with children and creates a fun, comfortable environment to make their first exam as comfortable as possible. Pediatric dentists should have specially-sized equipment and exam rooms and offices that have fun, bright colors and toys, tailored to children. You want the time your kids start seeing a dentist to be a positive experience, so that your kid won’t mind coming back for their next dental appointment in 6 months.
You can also prepare for when your kids start seeing a dentist by showing them videos about it, coming up with any questions you may have about how to care for developing teeth, and taking care of all that paperwork ahead of time, so you won’t need to be in the office as long.
What To Expect When Your Kids Start Seeing A Dentist
During your kid’s first dentist appointment, it’s more so just to get them accustomed to the environment, as well as for the dentist to check in on their mouth. You’ll be in the room with them, and likely will stay in the room with them until they are old enough to feel comfortable on their own with the dentist. Your dentist will give you advice and answer any questions you may have. It’s recommended that kids start seeing their dentist every six months after their first appointment, the same as adults, although you can ask your dentist about recommendations for your child.
Is It Time For Your Kids To Start Seeing A Dentist?
Gunnell Family Dentistry knows how important it is that kids start seeing a dentist as early as possible. We strive to make our dental appointments as fun and not scary as possible. We want to make dental visits as easy as possible for you and your child, which is why when you’re on our dental plan, kids under the age of 5 are free with a paying adult. Is it time for your kids to start seeing a dentist? Contact us today to set up their first appointment!