See Your Dentist by Age One
Did you know the recommended age for your child's first visit to the dentist is by age one? Or within six months of the time the first tooth comes into the mouth? Well it's true. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recommends that you don't miss this important first year visit to the dentist. The American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, and other key dental organizations couldn't agree more. Seeing the dentist in the first year is critical to preventing dental disease. Your dentist can help you take the necessary steps for prevention and developing healthy oral habits for your child.
Cleaning the teeth
The dentist can show you how to daily clean the teeth. There are some tricks to help you, such as laying the child back and cradling the head in your lap. You can start cleaning the teeth with a clean washcloth even before you start using a small baby-sized toothbrush. The dentist may also discuss when to start using toothpaste and why to use just a pea-size amount.
If your child ever goes to bed with a bottle or uses the bottle as a pacifier during the day can lead to a serious, painful dental condition called Early Childhood Caries (ECC). ECC was formerly called "baby bottle tooth decay" or "nursing bottle mouth." This can happen if the bottle has formula, milk, breast milk, fruit juice, jello water, or anything else besides plain water. You can prevent ECC by letting your baby drink from the bottle or "sippy cup" only at meals or snack times. Also don't let your baby fall asleep with the bottle. The dentist can help you with some weaning advice if you would like help with stopping the nighttime bottle.
Usually, the first teeth come in around six months of age. But every child is different. Some babies are even born with their first tooth while others don't get the first tooth until after a year old. The two bottom front teeth are typically the first to come, followed by the top front teeth. But this can vary, too. The dentist will check the teeth to ensure they are coming in okay and give you some tips on how to help your baby through this experience. The dentists may discuss teething gels, cold teething rings, etc. and what can help when you're away from home.
The dentist will check the teeth to see if there are any cavities starting. If there are small areas of beginning decay, the dentist may put a fluoride varnish on the teeth. This can "heal" the beginning stages of a cavity if it's caught soon enough.
If your baby does already have a cavity, the dentist may want to treat it in the office or he may need to go to the hospital or surgical center. The dentist may also refer you to a pediatric dentist that specializes in treating children with dental treatment needs.
You can help your baby's oral health, which improves the overall health, by seeing your dentist for that first important visit by one year of age or within six months of the first tooth coming in.