How old should your child be before s/he sees the dentist? It may surprise you to learn that the American Dental Association recommends that all children visit the dentist for the first time by the time they reach their first birthday. This comes as a shock to many parents who do not think to take their children to see the dentist until well after they are two or three years old. This change of thinking has been determined by the American Dental Association in order to establish a good rapport with a young child and to prevent dental issues from occurring.
When asked why more parents do not bring their children into the dentist at an earlier age, most often they say that the thought never occurred to them because they did not have “enough” teeth yet. This is the exact thinking that the ADA wants to change. Children’s baby teeth are extremely important to their lifelong oral health, and children who visit the dentist at a very young age have a great opportunity to promote optimal oral health because their parents are well educated on how to best care for their children’s teeth.
Your child’s first dental appointment is meant to be very relaxed and comfortable. Your dentist will “count the teeth,” speak with very child-friendly terminology, and will help to instill a desire to properly care for the teeth. Parents will also learn proper techniques for brushing and flossing a young child’s teeth, as well as other important factors for how to best care for a young mouth. Topics such as not allowing your child to fall asleep drinking a bottle of milk or breastfeeding, taking away a pacifier, sucking the thumb, and biting will also be talked about in regards to oral health.
It is important for all parents to take an active role in their child’s oral health. By making your child’s first dental appointment a priority, you are helping your child learn that taking care of his or her mouth is an essential part of growing up. Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD loves to help families thrive, and he welcomes the opportunity to serve you and your family members. Call today to schedule your child’s first dental appointment.