Did you know, tooth decay can occur as soon as your child's first tooth erupts? As a parent you may wonder why you should worry about decay in your baby's teeth, because one day they will be replaced by adult teeth. What you don't realize is decay in primary teeth can mean a higher risk of decay in the permanent teeth. Decay can also lead to problem's in the child's overall health.
We saw an adorable patient recently, Emma. Some may look at Emma and think she's too young to see a dentist. But Emma just turned one and has a few teeth in her mouth already. It is important to protect your child's teeth by starting dental checkups early. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry say that the first dental visit should occur within six months after the baby's first tooth appears, but no later than the child's first birthday. It's best to meet the dentist when your child is having no dental problems—don't wait until an emergency comes up.
Why schedule a visit so early? A dentist can show you how to clean your child's teeth, discuss diet and fluoride needs and recommend oral care products. He or she can answer your questions about your baby's teeth, just like a well-baby visit with your pediatrician. The dentist also checks for problems, such as tooth decay.
Having a well-baby checkup at this age also connects your child to a dentist. This can help the dentist get to know your child's and your family's specific needs, so he or she can provide the best care. The sooner your child gets used to seeing a dentist the easier it will make each appointment moving forward.
Emma did a great job the day I saw her. Her teeth had no obvious decay or problems that can come from putting babies to bed with a bottle with anything other than water. She was having fun and picked a couple items from our treasure chest. When it was time for me to exam her teeth she got a little upset. This is normal, but by her mother bringing her in this early and keeping it a regular thing she will grow more and more comfortable with each check up.
Each child will have different oral health needs. But it is almost always true that preventive care from your dentist can save time, money and teeth. I can recommend a schedule for your child's dental visits as well. Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits early can lead to a lifetime of good dental health.
A happy camper after her appointment. Thanks mom for taking care of her health!