How old should your child be when they first visit the dentist? The consensus is in and it is unanimous: before their first birthday.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend you bring your child to see the dentist before their first birthday. A paper published in *Pediatric Dentistry* in 2006 reported that children who were not brought in to see a dentist until they were two or older, “were more likely to have subsequent preventive, restorative and emergency visits.”
Why is it so important? Partly, it’s to make sure that everything in the baby’s mouth is healthy and ready for their teeth to grow in. It’s also important create a dental history for your child to allow consistent, focused, and personalized care from your pediatric dentist. But more than that, it’s to ensure that parents know what they need to do to keep the teeth of their children healthy.
The life of a baby is fraught with dangers to their teeth. From falls and spills to sticking odd objects in their mouths, to the pains of teething, things we adults take for granted as just part of being a baby can do serious damage to a baby’s teeth. Simply drinking milk from a bottle bathes the bacteria that cause cavities in rich sugars for long periods of time. It’s possible for babies to chip their teeth and get cavities. Even as infants, and even before the first teeth erupt, brushing needs to be a daily habit by the parents until the child is capable of handling that responsibility themselves.
If you have a new baby on the way, today is the time to begin looking for a pediatric dentist. Between diapers and sleepless nights, it’s easy to put off that first visit until far too late. Having a plan and a scheduled visit in place today can make the difference between a healthy smile and painful, pitted, and discolored teeth in your child’s future.