The earlier a child gets used to seeing the family dentist, the more likely they are to practice regular, at-home dental care for themselves. This decreases the likelihood of them needing restorative dental cosmetics later in life. Yet, many parents aren’t sure how soon their kids should start going to a dentist, or why.
Children should start seeing a family dentist by their first birthday. If not by that point, then a baby should see a dentist within six months of getting his or her first tooth. After this first appointment, kids should have two family dentist visits a year.
Most parents don’t take their children this early, though they should. Only 10% of one-year-olds and only 24% of two-year-olds have visited the dentist.
After all, why take the baby when he or she only has one tooth? Because teeth cleaning is not the point of the first visit.
These maiden trips to the family dentist are more about getting children used to the dentist’s chair, and exposing them to the dentist’s tools and equipment to so that they don’t develop a fear of the dentist later in life. These first visits also important for parents, too. Family dentists use that time as an opportunity to teach moms and dads how to properly care for their children’s teeth, explain the exam process and answer any questions.
There are some pretty serious potential risks of waiting to take your children to the dentist. Believe it or not, over 4 million preschoolers suffer from tooth decay, partly as a result of not starting their dental visits sooner. This leads to more cavities later on in their lives, and even further complications. For example, kids with cavities are more likely to need braces later in life.
However, all that can be avoided. Just remember–the sooner your child visits the family dentist, the better off they’ll be. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. More on this.