There’s nothing cuter than your baby’s toothless grin! But, when that first primary tooth erupts, you want to know how to take care of it.
Wiping off your baby’s gums and teeth is an excellent first step. And, as more teeth come in, you advance to a small, soft toothbrush.
But, the big question is: what age should a child go to the dentist? With all the conflicting advice, it’s hard for parents to know when to schedule that first visit.
Below, we’ll show you why it’s important to take care of your child’s primary teeth. Then, we’ll discuss that all-important first visit and what might happen there. Read on for more information!
Primary Teeth: Why Are They Important?
How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh, don’t worry about cavities! It’s just their baby teeth. They’ll fall out, and then the real teeth come in.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s talk now about the importance of your child’s primary, or baby, teeth.
Poor Dental Health and Your Child’s Baby Teeth
First, note that cavities in primary teeth are common and, unfortunately, on the rise. In fact, by the age of five years old, approximately 60% of children have had cavities already. And, what’s more, 40% of this group will have cavities upon entering kindergarten.
Even more alarming is the following statistic: the rate of tooth decay in children two to five years old jumped 17% from 1988-1994 to 1999-2004. That means the problem is getting worse, which is sad because tooth decay is entirely preventable.
But, again, why do we care? Aren’t adult teeth the important ones? The answer to that question is, no.
First, the number of cavities children have in their primary teeth is a good indicator of how many they’ll have in the future. Second, untreated cavities can lead to infection and more serious complications. No one wants their child to experience that!
In addition, baby teeth are necessary for proper chewing and speech development. They also save space for permanent teeth, enabling them to be strong and healthy when they come in.
For all these reasons, it’s important to take care of your child’s primary teeth. Regular visits to the dentist are part of that care. Let’s see when you should make that first appointment.
When To Take Your Child to the Dentist
Now you know how important it is to take care of your child’s primary teeth. To do so, you should bring your child in for their first dentist visit before their first birthday.
There are several reasons for this early date. The first and most significant one is you are building a trusting relationship between your child and their dentist.
Your child becomes familiar with:
- the dentist office
- the staff
- the terminology
Then, they begin to feel comfortable there. Also, the dentist can do a quick check for tooth decay and talk to you about proper dental care. This could include things like:
- nutrition and its relationship to good oral health
- cavity prevention
- the importance of fluoride
In short, the baby’s first visit is for you too! Afterward, you should bring your child in as often as your dentist recommends. Generally, though, it’s every six months.
Conclusion: What Age Should a Child Go to the Dentist
Now, you know the answer to the question: what age should a child go to the dentist? Good dental health begins with the proper care of your child’s baby teeth. Your dentist will help guide you on how to do that best!
Are you looking for a caring and compassionate dental team for your child? We have over 30 years experience caring for children’s teeth.
Our staff will make sure your child has a positive experience at our office. Contact us today for more information! We’d love to hear from you.
Dr. Perez has been in the private practice of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics for almost 30 years. He has been educated in top universities around the world, receiving training in the United States, Spain and Mexico. He is currently a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Perez is fluent in both Spanish and English.