When should my child start going to the dentist?

Dental health guidelines for parents of young children

When you have kids it feels like you constantly have to keep up with their always-changing bodies. Checkups at the doctors, vaccinations, discovering food allergies, vision care, and so much more. We’re never bored! Something some parents overlook though is taking their youngest children to the dentist. Their baby teeth are just going to fall out anyways, why do they have to go before their permanent teeth come in? Well there are many considerations, and very important reasons, to take them sooner, not later. Check out our list below to see why they should start going sooner than you think.

When?

According to the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry), kids should start going when their first baby tooth shows up. That usually starts happening at 6 months old. You can safely have your first visit within 6 months of that first tooth, but it is not recommended to wait any longer.

Why?

Well, there are lots of reasons. First, just because they are not permanent teeth, doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Their baby teeth are place holders for their grown up teeth and need to be healthy too. If the baby tooth is allowed to grow in whatever direction it chooses or forms a cavity this can compromise the future health and placement of the grown up tooth.

What?

What kind of issues can be prevented by taking your kiddo to the dentist early? Many, let us list the ways…

  • Prevent tooth decay.
  • Discover any possible mouth or tooth abnormalities. These can include missing or crooked teeth and pallet problems.
  • Maintain good oral health.
  • Prevent plaque from building up.
  • Warn you of other health issues. Their mouth can show early signs of other health problems throughout their little bodies.
  • Comfortability. The earlier kids go to the dentist, the less scary it is later.
  • Education. Sometimes learning how to care for their teeth from someone other than mom and dad helps kids take brushing and flossing more seriously.
  • Encourage a lifelong practice of caring for their teeth.

Who?

What kind of dentist should you take your kids to? You can take them to your dentist if your dentist offers family or pediatric dentistry and you have a good feel about their quality of care. Often the best option is to seek out a pediatric dental office. The biggest reason for this is because these offices are usually kid friendly and super fun! The staff is also used to working with little kids and can get them excited about their teeth. Some offices even have TV, books, and video games to keep your kiddo entertained and comfortable. Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be miserable and scary, it can be a lot of fun for your child!

We know that adding yet another thing to your list can be frustrating. The good news is that taking your child to the dentist only needs to happen twice a year, maybe annually if your dentist approves. That is a small commitment of your time to start a lifetime of healthy teeth for your little one. You’ve got this!

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One comment on “When should my child start going to the dentist?

  1. I like the fact that you pointed out a pediatric dentist would be a good choice for kids for the fact that they are kid friendly and can make their experience great so that they aren’t afraid of the dentist. My husband and I have a couple young children and were wondering what the best option would be for them, whether to bring them to a pediatric or family dentist. We will be sure to look in to pediatric dentists so that they feel comfortable at the dentist and won’t be afraid to return.

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