Parents are never certain when to take their child to the dentist for the first time. Some parents feel that the best time to take the child when they have a full set of teeth in their mouth. Other parents feel that it’s best to wait when the child experiences a problem with their teeth. However the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommends that the first visit should be when the first tooth appears, usually between ages one and two.
Most dentists agree that the earlier you take your child to the dentist the sooner they will overcome their fear. Allow the child to touch and hold the dental instruments and even take a ride in the dental chair. This way the child develops a feel of the dentist office as a comfortable fun place.
The first visit also allows the child to build trust with the dental staff. The child will also be introduced him to dental terminology. In addition, it allows the dentist to check for tooth decay at an early stage. He can also examine your child’s gums and look for any problems that can affect teeth patterns or speech delay. The first visit can also encourage your child to practice good oral hygiene.
After the first visit, it is always advisable for children to go every six months, unless something major comes up that requires immediate attention. During the second visit the dentist should count your child’s teeth and brush them with polishing paste. By the time the child is three years old, they should have developed a level of self confidence so that you do not have to hold their hand during visits. By this time the child should have developed a rapport with the dental staff and be able to sit in the chair without crying. By the time the child is three he should also have X-rays to check for internal cavities if he is able to handle it.
There are also other issues that you should discuss with your dentist during your child’s first visit. Important issues to address are teething, thumb sucking and lip sucking. Thumb and lip sucking are important because it can affect the growth of the two front teeth. It is also important to discuss proper nutrition with your dentist.
Too many carbohydrates are never good for children. Sugar, cookies and milk can lead to early tooth decay. Try to encourage your child to instead to eat fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables can help promote healthy eating habits and build stronger teeth. A well balanced amount of vegetable intake also increases the iron level in the child’s body, thus reducing the chances of infections.
Too much consumption of sticky foods such as raisins, dried figs, granola bars, oatmeal or peanut butter cookies, makes it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away. If your child consumes these types of products, have them brush their teeth immediately after eating. It is also best to encourage your child to drink water instead of soda. These are also things you should discuss with the dentist on the first visit. If your child has food allergies, then it is best to discuss with your dentist other alternatives.
Every child will respond differently to their first dental visit. The earlier your child is introduced to the dentist the better. Encouraging him at home to properly take care of their teeth and regular dental visits your child will be able to enjoy a healthy and happy smile. It can also save you thousands of dollars from unnecessary surgeries and braces.