Tips for your child’s first trip to the dentist
Regular dental check-ups are crucial to the healthy development of your child’s teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that you take your child for their first dental exam either when their first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday.
Going to the dentist for the first time, however, can make even the most easy-going child nervous. Here are some ways to help your child prepare for his or her very first dental exam.
Between six months and one year of age, your child’s first teeth will begin to erupt from the gums. Before teeth begin to erupt, you can clean the gums with a warm wash cloth. As the teeth erupt, you can begin to brush them with a soft bristled toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoridated tooth paste (about the size of a grain of rice).
Be sure you don’t put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk or formula as this can lead to tooth decay!
It’s never too early to start teaching your child good dental habits. While it would be difficult for a baby to brush their own teeth, you can demonstrate the motions and let them start to imitate you. Doing this with other family members can help plant the seeds for good dental hygiene.
If possible, try to schedule your child’s first dental appointment for a morning. This way they’ll be well-rested and more cooperative. After all, having a strange person digging around in their mouth can make a baby very upset.
Babies are very perceptive of your attitude and energy. Be sure to relax about your child’s first dental visit. If you’re anxious about the appointment, your child will pick up on it and be less cooperative with the dentist.
Spend some time talking to your baby about the dentist. Even if they can’t understand exactly what you’re telling them, it will help you to feel more relaxed. Easing this anxiety before the visit will go a long way in making the actual appointment a breeze.
Dr. Matt Bright is an expert pediatric dentist. A member of several academies and associations of pediatric dentists, Dr. Bright has many years of education and experience working with children. He’s also a father of two children himself! So if it’s time for your child’s first dental exam, contact us today to set up your appointment!