One year old baby brushing teeth.

It may seem silly to take your child to the dentist when they don’t even have teeth yet or when you know their baby teeth will eventually fall out. However, early dental visits are important for setting your child up for good oral health in the future.

In fact, the American Dental Association, Center for Disease Control, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend taking your child to the dentist by their first birthday and twice per year after that. Evidence suggests that for every year past this age your child waits to see the dentist, the chances of tooth decay almost doubles.

Why We Recommend Early Dental Visits

There are lots of reasons to schedule early dental visits. A growing amount of research shows that early dental visits have positive effects on your child’s dental health for years to come. Here are four important reasons to get in the habit of bringing your child to the dentist early.

Staying Informed

As a parent, being informed and knowing what to expect as your children grow is valuable. We are here to help guide you through your child’s early oral health journey. Much of these first visits are meant to keep you informed.

At early appointments, you will learn what to expect in terms of tooth development, as well as how to brush your child’s teeth and teach them to brush their own teeth properly. In addition to discussing proper oral hygiene, we will talk about dietary concerns and how to manage common issues such as teething, pacifiers, thumb sucking, and more.

Keeping Your Child Calm

Your child may not be aware of the unfortunate stigma that dental care is painful or scary, and this is a good thing! Introducing your child to dentist visits early will get them used to the dental chair and, hopefully, reduce stress and potential dental anxiety in the future. A good experience with the dentist early on will get your child excited about caring for his or her teeth.

Keep Baby Teeth Healthy

Baby teeth have an important role to play as placeholders for adult teeth as well as helping your child eat and speak correctly. But even young teeth can develop plaque, tartar, and tooth decay. Even with supervision, children are still learning to brush their teeth effectively. If tartar appears, it will require a dentist to gently scrape it off in order to prevent decay and cavities.

Cavities can be painful and require fillings. Preventing them is the best option for both children and adults. At early visits, your dentist may suggest a quick and painless fluoride treatment or paint-on sealant to help further prevent cavities.

Treating Cavities

Studies show that up to 21% of young children have an untreated cavity. Detecting and treating cavities early can go a long way in preventing premature tooth loss and, of course, alleviating any pain your child is experiencing.

Losing a baby tooth too early can have long-reaching implications. Baby teeth are important in guiding permanent teeth into the correct position. When lost too early, permanent teeth stand a higher chance of coming in misaligned and causing hygiene as well as orthodontic issues in the future.

It’s Never Too Late to Start

If your child is approaching their first birthday or has developed their first tooth, it is time to schedule their first dentist appointment. If you missed that time frame, that’s okay. Simply call our office right away and schedule his or her first appointment as soon as possible to get back on track with your child’s dental health.