By John Dioquino, DDS
From a baby’s first word to the first step, every day in your child’s first year of life can feel like a new milestone. Those memorable moments should also include his or her first visit to a dentist.
It’s important to start early when it comes to protecting your child’s teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends scheduling your baby’s first dental visit sometime after the first tooth emerges but no later than the first birthday.
Why so early? Infants can develop tooth decay and cavities after their teeth first begin to appear. Decay can by caused by long-term exposure to liquids that contain sugars like milk, formula, and fruit juice.
Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent future dental problems. In addition to tooth decay, the dentist will look for other issues like teething irritations or prolonged thumb or pacifier sucking.
That first dental visit is usually fairly short; still the ADA recommends scheduling your child’s first visit in the morning when kids tend to be better rested and more cooperative. Also, bring a list of questions to ask the dentist.
To find a pediatric dentist, check with your pediatrician or insurance company about providers in your area or network. You may want to also ask friends and family members for referrals.
Finally, make your baby’s first visit to the dentist as comfortable as possible. It’s okay if your little one cries a bit or wiggles around during the exam. It’s perfectly normal. Your dental team knows this is a new experience for your child.
Teaching your little one good oral hygiene early on can lead them to a lifetime of good oral health.
Legacy Community Health provides adult and pediatric dental services by general dentists at its Montrose, Baker-Ripley, Lyons and San Jacinto clinics.
Courtesy: U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo