When should I start bringing my child to the dentist?

Usually, it’s a good idea to start bringing your child for his first dental visit around 3.5 to 4 years of age. A good indicator is if the child is potty trained. That usually means they have some understanding of control and can modify their behavior. A young child will usually develop 20 primary, or “baby teeth”. It’s important that you teach your child to brush his/her teeth as soon as possible. If they won’t do it, help them with brushing, or use a washcloth to clean the teeth. 
Diet is very important in avoiding cavities. Try to keep you child (I know this is very hard) away from “sticky” candies like licorice or lollipops. The sugars from these sticky foods attach to the teeth and cause aggressive decay. If your child likes sweets, fruits are a great substitution. Stay away from soda, as the acidity and the carbonation destroy teeth quickly. If you were to leave a tooth in soda overnight, it would dissolve by morning. Plus, soda has zero nutritional value.

If your child has a thumb sucking habit, or needs a pacifier to sleep, try to wean them off these habits.
The constant pressure causes the teeth to move outward, and can necessitate the need for orthodontic treatment later (braces). It can also affect their speech as well.

We recommend sealants for your child’s molars. These are plastic coatings that seal the grooves in the teeth and prevent the formation of cavities that usually start in these grooves. 
Once your child has been for his/her first dental visit, every 6 months thereafter is probably a good frequency to visit the dentist. The dentist can track the formation and eruption of the teeth, check for cavities, and make sure your child is developing good oral health.

Author
Archer Katz

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