When to Start Taking Your Kids to the Dentist
There’s nothing like watching your little one grow up. First words, first friends, first teeth. In a time full of firsts, navigating health care can feel complicated. As your child grows, you might find yourself asking when to take them to the pediatrician. But what about dental hygiene and health? How early should you start? It can be confusing to navigate pediatricians for your baby, let alone dental care. We’ve got the details on when to start taking your kids to the dentist and how to make sure they maintain those pearly whites from day one.
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Let’s take it from the American Academy of Dentists. It’s time for your little one to visit the dentist when:
- The first tooth comes in 🦷or
- Before age 1
Most children begin to develop their primary teeth around the 6-month mark. It's especially important to check in with the research since kids start to develop cavities well before kindergarten (especially if they are consuming juice and sugary items early on).
Involve your kids in their dental care routine early on.
Dental hygiene can be, dare we say it, fun! Try instilling a sense of wonder and excitement by having your kids brush their teeth with fun toothbrushes and songs to help them complete the recommended two minutes. Even better if you can make it a family activity that the kids look forward to. This positive association can help children develop a routine and reward system around taking care of their teeth. Things like pain, sensitivity, trouble chewing, dark spots on teeth, and bad breath are all potential indicators of cavities and dental issues in babies and children. If you suspect that your child has something going on in their mouth, don't hesitate to find a pediatrician or pediatric dentist to help you figure it out.
Calm nerves before the first visit.
If you're feeling anxious before your child's first dentist appointment, your child might reflect those anxieties. Framing the visit as something important and fun, with a reward afterward is one approach to make your child feel more comfortable before a big visit. Rather than avoiding or pushing aside your child's fear and worries, try to work through them and discuss them in-depth before the visit. If possible, do something that your child loves before the visit to put them in a more calm headspace. There are plenty of resources to help ease your child's nerves before their first doctor visit.
Always talk with your pediatrician to determine when it’s time for a visit to the dentist. If you can develop healthy brushing habits from a young age, you can fend off potential issues and complications moving forward. Looking for a dentist for your little one? Search through dentists who specialize in pediatrics on Voro.