The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. Primary teeth typically begin growing in around 6 months of age.
The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than 1 in 4 children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many kids get cavities as early as age 2.
To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems but cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. The age 1 dental visit lets parents discuss:
How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth
Proper use of fluoride
Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking
Ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth
Teething and milestones of development
The link between diet and oral health
After this first visit, we can suggest a schedule of follow-up visits. In the past, dentists typically called for visits every six months. Now, the schedule may vary according to your child’s needs and risks. As your child grows, the dental team can help you learn how to prevent common oral problems.