As parents of an infant, visiting the dentist may seem like a trip best avoided until the infant's mouth is full of teeth. The Canadian Dental Association, on the other hand, recommends that you visit your dentist for an assessment at the first sign of a first tooth, or by the age of 12 months.
The initial visit can assist your child in developing a sense of comfort with their dentist and establishing a relationship of trust. A brief examination of their teeth and gums will be performed. Following that, visits should be scheduled every six months for children's dental care, just as they are for adults.
3 Reasons to Bring Your Child to The Dentist Early
- Build trust. Showing trust in your dentist can teach your child that visits to the dentist are safe and an important step in the prevention and treatment of problems.
- Check technique. Find out if the teeth cleaning routine at home is working. If spots are being missed, early discovery is key to keeping those teeth healthy!
- Proactive approach. By visiting the dentist every six months, your dentist can be proactive and catch any developing issues early.
It's critical to understand that a child's primary ("baby") teeth are more susceptible to early childhood tooth decay than permanent teeth because their protective enamel is thinner. Tooth decay can be painful and hurt your child's overall health. Additionally, it can impair their ability to sleep, speak, or eat, as well as their ability to focus or learn.
Tips to Encourage Good Dental Care for Your Child
- Begin even before the first tooth appears! Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe your baby’s gums twice a day.
- Avoid offering bottles before naps or bedtime. If you can’t avoid it, try using water instead of milk or juice to avoid decay. Limit time with a bottle to five minutes or less to help prevent the development of orthodontic issues.
- Take your child for their first dental visit around 12 months of age.
- At the first sign of a tooth, brush your child’s teeth daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste until they’re old enough to spit it out (typically around 3 years old).
- Let your child practice brushing by copying you, then finish for them, making sure that all surfaces have been cleaned. Your child will need help with brushing until they’re about 8 years old.
- Teach your child to brush for two minutes twice a day.
- Replace toothbrushes every few months or when they begin to show signs of wear, such as flattening or bushy bristles.
- Bring your child for regular dental visits. Every six months is optimal, but this may vary depending on your dentist.