When Should My Child Start Going to the Dentist?
On average, children in the United States are two years of age or older before they see the dentist for the first time. Parents are often under the impression that children without a full set of baby teeth don’t have to see the dentist. However, dental hygienists, medical professionals, and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that children begin seeing a dentist, regularly, when they are one year old, or when their first tooth erupts through their gums.
Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, normally come through when a child is around 6 months old. Some children can be late bloomers, but if that’s the case, then a dentist can examine a child’s gums to determine when parents can expect the first tooth.
The Importance of Teaching Oral Care from a Young Age
It’s the job of adults, such as parents and other caregivers, to model by example when it comes to good, consistent oral care. Children need to begin from a young age to build the foundation and understand the importance of lifelong oral care.
According to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it’s important for children to naturally lose their primary teeth, rather than having them pulled or forced out. Primary teeth are the training wheels of oral health.
Baby teeth help children to:
- Learn how to speak and enunciate their words correctly.
- Smile. Just like adults, when children feel confident about a beautiful, healthy smile, they feel confident in their overall appearance. This confidence trickles into other areas of their life to shape their personalities in a positive direction.
- Learn how to chew their food properly for easier digestion and better nutrition. Nutrients are released as food is broken down into smaller pieces with the help of teeth and saliva. This aids in better overall health!
Many parents are lost when it comes to caring for their children’s teeth. Luckily, dentists are well-versed in teaching adults how to build a solid foundation of oral care with their kids. This includes the proper techniques for brushing and durations, flossing every day, and the importance of visiting a dentist at least every six months.
Reassuring and Calming Your Child About Their First Dental Visit
How your child reacts to the dentist depends on a variety of things, like their personality, what age they are on their first visit, and how comfortable they are around new people. Children around six months to one year old are more likely to be calmer, whereas children of two years and older may have first-visit jitters.
As a parent, here are a few ways you can calm and reassure your child before their first dental visit.
- Plan the dental visit in advance. Give your child enough time to get comfortable with the idea of their first dental visit.
- Remember, good oral care begins from a young age, so get your child involved in your own dentist’s visits. If you’re able, allow your little one to accompany you on your dental visits. They can see firsthand what to expect for their own impending teeth examination.
- Utilize resources to teach your child more about dental visits! Take a trip to the library for fun children’s books about dental health, log onto My Smile Kids for exciting activities that teach all about oral care and look up videos of children’s dental examinations to show your child that there’s nothing to be nervous about.
Where to Go for Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Dr. Evans’ Office in Boulder, Colorado, offers a full range of pediatric dental care services. The dental team at David Evans DDS is an expert in making children feel comfortable and calm during their first dental visits. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Evans by calling 303-442-0990 or online.