You’ve just had a baby and the last thing on your mind is probably the dentist, but it turns out this may be a mistake.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the child’s first visit should be by the age of one or immediately following the first appearance of a tooth. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “But if their baby teeth are going to fall out anyway, what’s the point?” Well, it turns out there are actually quite a few.
There are many benefits to early dentist visits, ranging from immediate to long-term.
Your child’s baby teeth can remain with them until the age of 14, so maintaining their care is very important. Baby teeth allow your child to chew properly, are critical in speech development, and hold the place for their future permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too quickly, its place will likely be taken over by other teeth thereby blocking the proper tooth from coming in. A dentist can detect any irregularities and prevent this from becoming a long-term issue such as having overcrowded or crooked teeth.
Also, just because they’re baby teeth doesn’t mean that they’re immune to cavities. A dentist will be able to detect decay right away and prevent a simple cavity from turning into an infection.
Not only does an early dentist visit help your child’s dental health but it can also make future visits more comfortable.
Creating trust between your dentist and child is essential and when done from such an early age will lead to less fear and anxiety in the future. It creates a routine and gets your child used to the vocabulary, sounds, and the feel of an exam, along with the staff itself.
A dentist can set a cleaning routine for your baby or child that you can later monitor and teach them to do themselves as they get older. This creates a pattern that will lead to maintaining your child’s dental health.
Now that I know that I should take my baby to the dentist, how do I make it as comfortable as possible?
There are many simple and even fun ways to prepare your child for the dentist. A baby will likely be too young to be nervous and starting them at such an early age will make these steps even easier.
A great idea is to just take your little one to your next checkup; allowing them to see you will likely provide them with a sense of comfort regarding their own visit. There are many books and websites that also provide a way to explain the process to your child in an entertaining way. Another fun way to ease their anxiety is to play dentist and patient with your child, this will also get them more accustomed to the thought of someone looking inside their mouths.
This may seem like a lot of effort, but your child’s dental health truly does depend on you.
Please feel free to leave a comment below of techniques that have worked for you and your child or questions that you may still have.