Young boy smiling in dental exam room chair

When Should a Child Start Going to the Dentist?

TeamPediatric Dentistry

Lots of parents have questions about when their child should see a dentist for the first time. After all, does dental care really matter when your child only has a couple of baby teeth? The answer is yes, it matters. 

A solid foundation for good dental care starts early in life. But, at what age? Let’s talk about it. 

A Child’s First Visit

Believe it or not, your child should first see a dentist around their first birthday - or within 6 months of getting their first tooth - whichever comes first. This is the recommendation by most pediatric dentists. It gives your child a chance to get familiar with the dentist’s office, the staff, and the dentist. 

During the first visit, the dentist will examine our child’s teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and any oral concerns that may arise. This shouldn’t be a long visit at all, but long enough to make sure your child is growing and developing in a healthy manner. 

The Importance of Caring For Baby Teeth

Baby teeth fall out, so what’s the big deal, right? Actually, baby teeth - also known as primary teeth - are very important to your child’s oral health and overall wellbeing. This means that they must be cared for properly. 

Strong primary teeth are needed for: 

  • Chewing food easily 
  • Pronouncing words properly
  • Maintaining space for permanent teeth

As baby teeth naturally fall out they will be replaced with permanent teeth. Until then, taking good care of teeth and gums can ensure a healthy mouth with proper space and surroundings for adult teeth to thrive. 

Helping Children Develop Healthy Habits

Helping children develop healthy oral hygiene early on can set them up for future success. But, when kids are so small, how do you teach them to brush their teeth? 

The care of your baby’s teeth and gums should start well before any teeth appear. You can do this by gently wiping down their gums with a soft cloth after every meal. Although your child isn’t going to understand what you are doing - or even realize you are doing it - it sets the foundation for future habits developed between you and your child. 

As teeth begin to erupt and your child starts eating more solid foods, use a finger brush after each meal. This is a soft-bristled brush that slides onto your finger so that you can gently rub it along your baby’s gum line - and any teeth. Again, this further solidifies the habit.  

Remember, you are the role model. Let your child see you brush your teeth and explain why you do it - even if your child is too young to fully understand what you are talking about. They see what you are doing, and they are going to want to do it, too. 

Pediatric Dentistry in Attleboro

Attleboro Family Dental Care loves helping little ones learn and grow in their oral health routine. We welcome their first visit to ensure that growth and development are on track. And we answer any questions the parents may have in providing these new healthy habits. 

Call Attleboro Family Dental Care today at 508-222-2510. Or, request an appointment online. You can also visit our neighbor Attleboro Pediatric Dentistry for an appointment for your child.