At What Age Should Your Child Start Seeing A Dentist?

It is a fact known by all parents: children don’t like going to the doctor. While they may warm up to their pediatrician in time, the perspective of going to the dentist will cause tantrums in the little patients. But for the sake of your child’s health, you should start taking them to see a dentist on a regular basis from a very early age. You want to make sure your children are comfortable going to the dentist before problems appear.

When Exactly Should a Dentist See Your Child for the Fist Time?

The American Academy for Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends taking children for an initial checkup as soon as the first tooth erupts. At any rate, you shouldn’t postpone taking your child to the doctor later than the age of 1.

You may wonder? Why does a baby need to see a dentist? They are not eating solid food, after all. The truth is that many babies develop tooth decay from nursing. This is a well documented fact, and mothers need to learn from the pediatric dentist how to help prevent this issue.

Teaching Children Oral Hygiene – a Joint Effort

As children grow and develop a full set of teeth, they start diversifying their diet. This is the time when they also need to learn brushing their teeth. Good habits are often learned from parents by their own personal example.

However, this is not enough. Children are still clumsy and they may not learn a correct brushing technique from parents. This is why a good pediatric dentist is such an important part of a child’s life.

These dentists have long experience working with children. They are patient and have simple and fun ways to teach your child how to brush their teeth. We may say that the first dentist is as important as the first teacher in a child’s life.

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The Critical Period

The AAPD further recommends increasing the frequency of dentist appointments during the critical years: 6 thru 12 years old. This is when the baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth.

At around the age of 7, you should also take your child to an orthodontist. This specialty deals with teeth alignment and proper spacing between teeth. An orthodontist will notice any sign of teeth growing crooked and can recommend corrective braces.

The sooner a child gets braces (if needed), the easier it will be to fix the alignment of the teeth.

How Can Parents Help?

The way children react to a visit to the dentist’s is entirely dependent on the way parents act and talk about it. Thus, you should always make sure that you do not speak of the dentist in a negative manner. And never ever use a visit to a dentist as a deterrent for naughty behavior. It is also helpful to take your child for your own dental appointment.

Once they see that you are not nervous about it, children will accept visits to the dental clinic as a regular activity. Children are extremely observant and quickly internalize what their parents do. If your children have a tooth emergency, you will want to call an amazing emergency dentist near you immediately.

Thus, if you want your child to go to the dentist’s without qualms, do the same when it comes to your own check-ups.