Many parents are lax about taking their babies to the dentist. After all, they’re only going to lose their baby teeth. There’s no need to care for them, right?
You would be wrong about that.
Dental caries is a chronic condition that affects about 42% of all children. It will make your child more prone to getting cavities in their permanent teeth later.
That’s why going to the dentist is so important when they’re still young. Are you wondering when you should schedule their first appointment?
We’ve got the answers to all your burning dental hygiene questions right here. Keep reading to learn more.
When to Go to the Dentist?
Most parents make the mistake of waiting until their child has a full mouth of pearly whites before making their child’s first dentist appointment. In truth, it’s never too early to promote healthy teeth and gums.
You should schedule a trip to the dentist when your child turns 6 months old. By this time, their teeth should have started coming in.
If they’re a late bloomer, schedule the appointment anyway. Don’t put it off until they’re a year old.
Why Go So Early?
A good portion of the general population is terrified of going to the dentist. If you rip off the bandaid and take your child to the best pediatric dentist while they’re still young, it will cause them to associate teeth cleanings with something good. That means they’ll be less likely to be scared of the dentist in the future.
Going to the dentist early will allow dentists to spot any small oral health problems before they turn into bigger ones.
It’s also educational for you. The dentist can teach you how to properly care for your little one’s teeth and let you know if you’re doing anything wrong.
Signs You Should Go Even Earlier
In some cases, you should take your child to the dentist earlier than 6 months. If your kid is having severe toothaches and gum issues, you shouldn’t put things off.
If your child is sucking at their lip, that’s a huge indicator that they have some tooth alignment issues going on.
Your dentist can help your kid kick the lip-sucking habit, so it doesn’t cause serious oral health issues when they get older.
Your child can’t tell you when they’re having a toothache. All they can do to display their discomfort is to cry.
The problem is that kids cry for a multitude of reasons. It’s hard to tell if it’s tooth-related, but if you’ve ruled everything else out, you might as well try a dental checkup.
It’s not uncommon for children to experience tooth decay via bacteria from their baby bottles.
If you notice that your little one’s teeth are a bit discolored, take them to the dentist ASAP. If the problem isn’t treated right away, it could lead to decay.
When plaque builds up in your child’s mouth, it can cause bleeding gums and a bunch of other issues. You’ll need to make a dental appointment to clear the plaque out and get their gums back on the right track.
Preparing for the Visit
Now that you have your child’s appointment set, it’s time to prepare them for it. You should never spring it on them last minute. That’s a good way to scare them.
It’s better to tell your child about the dentist and teach them the importance of oral health while they’re small.
Teach Your Child
The best way to get your child ready for their appointment is to tell them what goes on at the dentist. You may want to leave out the parts that involve drills, but you can talk about general teeth cleanings.
If they have any questions, answer them as honestly as you can, and give them incentives for good behavior.
We don’t mean taking them out to get ice cream after their appointment is over. Praising them for their good behavior will be good enough.
Expose Them to the Dentist
When you make a dental appointment for yourself, you should take your child with you. If they can see you being brave in that chair, they’ll likely emulate your behavior during their dental visit.
If you don’t have an appointment coming up, you can use your child’s imagination to expose them to the dentist.
When you brush your child’s teeth, pretend to be the physician. You can give them a turn at caring for your teeth as well.
What to Expect Out of the Visit
There’s not a lot that happens during your child’s first dentist visit. They’ll take a look inside their mouth to check for tooth decay and gum issues.
They’ll also look at their jaw to determine if they’re developing any problems that may affect tooth alignment and speech.
After they’re finished with their examination, they’ll give you a list of oral hygiene steps to follow to keep the child’s mouth healthy.
What Will Happen If You Delay?
We’ve said before that you shouldn’t wait until your child turns a year old to take them to the dentist.
If you delay, it could cause them to develop conditions and bad habits like tooth grinding, lisps, awful hygiene, and infections.
Teach Your Child About Going to the Dentist
Going to the dentist is an important part of childhood. If you delay scheduling your kid’s first appointment, it could cause a lot of negative side effects.
Don’t wait until they’re blowing out the candles on their first birthday cake to get them to the dentist.
For more tips that will help you take care of your little one’s smile, visit the Health section of our blog.