When should my child visit the dentist for the first time? | Hopewell Dental Care

That is one of our most frequently asked questions. The average healthy adult visits their dentist at least two times per year. By kindergarten, 25% of children have never seen a dentist. Did you know that dental decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease in America?

Don’t blame yourself; it’s not your fault. For years we have been misinformed about when a child’s first visit should be and when parents should start caring for their child’s teeth. A child should first visit the dentist 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth, according to the ADA. During this exam, we will teach the parents the best way to guard their child against early childhood tooth decay.

What will happen at the first visit?

  • Your child will have the opportunity to meet the doctor and staff. We make every effort to make their first visit fun and memorable so they will look forward to coming back for their next visit.
  • Review your child’s history also respond to your questions and concerns.
  • Discuss with you about your child’s overall oral health, including:development, teething, bite (how your child’s teeth will come together), soft tissues such as gums and cheeks, oral habits such as sucking, factors that affect the risk of cavities, such as diet, hygiene practices, fluoride use and whether others in the family have had cavities and how to prevent trauma to your child’s mouth.
  • Your child will have the opportunity to meet the doctor and staff. We make every effort to make their first visit fun and memorable so that they will look forward to coming back for   their next visit.
  • Review your child’s history also respond to your questions and concerns.
  • Discuss with you about your child’s overall oral health, including:development, teething, bite (how your child’s teeth will come together), soft tissues such as gums and cheeks, oral   habits such as sucking, factors that affect the risk of cavities, such as diet, hygiene practices, fluoride use and whether others in the family have had cavities and how to prevent trauma to your child’s mouth.
  • Show you how to clean your child’s teeth.
  • Give specific advice about home care, including hygiene, diet and use of toothpaste and other fluorides.
  • Tell you what to expect as your child grows and develops in the coming months.
  • Suggest a schedule for follow-up care.
  • The hygienist may also clean your child’s teeth. This is likely to occur if your child’s teeth have a stain that commonly appears in infants.
  • The hygienist also may apply fluoride, particularly if your child has a higher than average risk of developing cavities.

 

Before leaving the office, you should have a clear idea about your child’s development, your responsibilities, follow-up care by the dentist if needed. Please ask questions at any time during the visit.

We will also educate about limiting sugary beverages, which is extremely important. Did you know? Long-term exposure to sugary liquids is what you may hear of as baby bottle tooth decay. This puts the child’s growing teeth at increased risk for tooth decay. Water, teas and unsweetened fruit juices are best for children to help promote their overall oral health. As fruit juice can cause tooth decay. Giving children milk before bed, thinking calcium will be good for their teeth, might not be the wisest choice at bedtime. While milk during the day is fine, the lactose in it is a type of sugar and can be harmful at night, as when we are asleep we produce less of the saliva that would neutralize it.

 

Here are some tips to keeping your child’s smile healthy:

 – If you allow your children fizzy drinks, give them a straw to minimize contact with teeth.

– Reduce snacking. Snacks should be savory, such as a cheese sandwich, to neutralize acidity and stimulate saliva.

– Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste (your dentist will discuss fluoride with you), this repairs and hardens enamel and   reduces the acid that bacteria produce.

– Avoid brushing immediately after eating, when enamel may be softened. Brush first thing in the morning or, ideally, 30 to 60 minutes after breakfast, and brush at bedtime.

– Serve juice only once a day with a meal.

– Avoid giving milk after they’ve brushed their teeth at night.

– Visit your dentist regularly.

 

Check out our No Cavity Club for kids…pretty awesome club!  If you have any questions or concerns one of our doctors will be available to answer questions.

How old were you on your first visit to the dentist?