There are so many firsts with children! Every single one from their first word to their first dentist appointment is so special. When it comes to dentist appointments, new parents may find themselves wondering when to start taking their child to the dentist. When does that first happen? The answer is: probably a lot sooner than you would expect. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children see a dentist as soon as they get their first tooth or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.
Why So Early?
It’s recommended that you take your child to see a dentist so early because prevention is key in oral health. The CDC says that 20% of children under 5 suffer from untreated tooth decay. The CDC also shows that children with poor oral health don’t just have tooth problems, they also don’t do as well in school. This is because your oral health isn’t contained to your mouth – your oral health affects your overall health.
Because oral health affects everything, it’s crucial in developmental years. How teeth come in and the health of a child’s gums and mouth affect how they learn to talk, to eat, and how they play and learn.If you have a healthy mouth, your body will be healthier. If you have oral problems, they can manifest elsewhere too. For children, good oral health is a must, which is why it’s important to take them to a dentist as soon as you notice a tooth coming in.
How Early Visits Help Dental Health
It’s easier to prevent or fix a minor problem than fix a major problem. As soon as you have teeth, you can get cavities. This is why dental exams are recommended so young. Early dental exams aren’t just about your child’s teeth, but also about their overall oral health – the inside of their mouth, their lips, their gums, etc.
Dentists can also track the progress of how teeth develop as well as potential problems. They can intervene if necessary, and offer suggestions for nutrition and promoting oral care. For example, if a baby falls asleep with a bottle in its mouth, that liquid pooling in its mouth can do more than risk your baby choking, but also cause tooth and gum decay.
Baby teeth are just as important as permanent (adult) teeth. Baby teeth help kids speak and eat and also provide a blueprint for permanent teeth. Early dental exams catch potential problems and ensure that everything is developing as it should. Dental exams can also use x-rays to check on permanent teeth and see if they are coming in as they should.
Why Worry About Problems In Baby Teeth
Why worry about problems with baby teeth? They fall out, so why does it matter if they have cavities or other issues? You should worry about problems in your child’s teeth because they put them at higher risk for problems in adult teeth. As previously established, this can affect their overall health because oral health impacts the health of the entire body.
How To Care For A Baby’s Teeth
How do you know when to start oral healthcare? You can start before their teeth even come in! After feeding your baby, you can clean their gums with a cloth or gauze and water. As they get older, you can graduate to a soft-bristled toothbrush. It’s not recommended that you use a fluoride toothpaste until your child is at least 2, because until their teeth come in, they are at risk for fluorosis. Fluorosis is a condition caused by fluoride that can cause discoloration on your child’s teeth, and in severe cases, pits between their teeth.
Your dentist can advise you on how best to care for developing teeth. You can also always call your dentist for advice and any questions you may have.
What To Expect From A First Dental Exam
Dentists know this is new for your child and will be as gentle as possible. They will look at your child’s overall oral health, checking how their bite is coming in, and identifying any issues or potential issues. They will also talk about teething, brushing, risks, nutrition, prevention, how your child’s teeth will come together, and more.
It’s important to take care of your child’s oral health. You can do this through taking them to regular oral exams, teaching them about proper oral hygiene, and working to prevent any potential issues. If you notice anything concerning in your child’s mouth, make an appointment right away! It is better to catch problems sooner than later.
Mountain View Dental offers “Happy Visit”s to help your child get accustomed to a dentist’s office and form positive associations with it. They can sit in the chair, examine the surroundings, and get used to a dentist touching their mouth. Sometimes, children will allow a full exam, sometimes now. In both cases, it helps them feel more comfortable with the dentist’s office.
Do You Need To Schedule An Exam For Your Child?
Here at Mountain View Dental, we understand how vital it is to take care of your child’s dental health early. We offer family dentistry for you and your children. If you would like to schedule an appointment for your child or have any questions about pediatric dentistry, please contact us at Mountain View Dental today!