Your baby’s teeth are actually forming while your child is still in the womb. Baby teeth (also known as primary teeth) usually begin to emerge around six months of age. Although there is not a definite age for first teeth to erupt, it is important that you plan to take your child for their first dental exam about six months following their first teeth coming in or twelve months of age at the latest.
Why So Young?
Dental decay can develop in baby teeth. Although you may think that cavities are the result of too much sugar, that is not the whole story. Decay forms when the bacteria in the mouth turns anything we eat and drink into acid. When allowed to stay on teeth, what you feed your child or put in their bottle or sippy cup can continuously attack their teeth. That is why it is so important to never put anything but water in your child’s bottle when putting them to bed or down for a nap.
Another reason an early visit with the dentist is important is that your child is allowed to become familiar with the sights, sounds, and smells of the dental office before they are faced with a dental emergency. Imagine the emotional impact of a first dental appointment because of a toothache and the possibility of being faced with having a cavity treated.
Your dentist will perform your child’s first dental exam looking for decay or any obvious oral health issues that may be present. The friendly and relaxed atmosphere allows your child to become familiar with the dentist making subsequent visits non threatening and easy to manage.
A Learning Experience
An early visit with the dentist allows parents to learn the best way to care for their child’s dental health. From diet to learning the best ways to keep baby teeth clean and cavity free, your dentist will address any questions or concerns you may have.
You know your child better than anyone, so try to schedule that first dental appointment when you know your child is at their best. Never say anything negative about the dentist or dental check up that will frighten your child, and always discuss visits to the dentist in a positive light. A great experience for your child will make future dental visits easier.