Infant & Toddler First Time Visits
Strong and healthy baby (primary) teeth are important for children to help them chew and speak properly. They are meant to hold space in the jaws for the adult (permanent) teeth growing under the gums.
There are 20 primary teeth that usually erupt between the ages of 6 months and 3 years. Although these teeth will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth, proper oral hygiene is essential to prevent decay that can adversely affect the health of permanent teeth.
This may happen if you put your baby to bed with a bottle, causing the liquid to pool around the teeth when the baby falls asleep. Constantly sipping on sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice, or snacking on sugary foods can also increase the risk of tooth decay, especially if you don’t practice proper oral hygiene.
Scheduling your baby’s first dental visit
To protect your child’s teeth, it’s important that you start dental checkups as soon as the first baby teeth erupt. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, as well as the American Dental Association recommend that you schedule the first dental visit within six months after the first baby tooth appears, before your child’s first birthday.
Preventive dental care is best, so you shouldn’t wait until there’s an emergency to meet the dentist. An early dental visit provides a great opportunity to:
- Learn how to clean your child’s teeth
- Discuss proper diet and any fluoride needs
- Check for dental problems such as tooth decay in toddlers
- Check toddlers for dental problems associated with thumb sucking
- Recommend suitable oral care products such as dental sealants
- Get answers for any questions you may have about your child’s oral care
Ideally, your child’s first dental visit should be scheduled in the morning since children tend to be well rested and more cooperative. Try to make the visit an enjoyable outing to reduce the risk of anxiety, and to help your child establish good oral care habits that allow for a lifetime of optimal dental health.