“When should my child first visit the dentist?” This is a common question posed to dentists and doctors by first-time parents eager to ensure their child has a good start at proper oral care.
As a general rule of thumb, parents should bring their child to see a dentist shortly after they begin to develop their first teeth. While it may seem like a hassle to bring a very young child in for dental checkups and cleaning, it is important to get them started early so that they not only become accustomed to proper oral care by a young age but so the dentist can spot any potential issues as early as possible. This is an important step in ensure healthy habits as they continue to grow up.
Many dentists who specialize in caring for children will offer special checkups designed to help children feel comfortable in the dentist’s office while encouraging them to take good care of their teeth at home and make good choices. Dentists or dental assistants may involve them through play in order to help them learn proper techniques.
Some offices will even offer special preparation sessions that allow young kids to play dentist, performing check-ups and cleanings on puppets and becoming familiar with some of the tools that will be used during their appointment. Often parents will be encouraged to get involved in order to help young children feel comfortable and in control.
Establishing healthy oral habits at a young age is an important step not only in that it will help protect their smile for many years to come but also in helping children develop a better attitude towards dentistry.
Many adults suffer from moderate to severe dental phobias that make undergoing even regular cleanings extremely stressful and challenging and one of the best ways to prevent that is to start your child in a comfortable setting designed to be as stress-free as possible.
And remember, keeping up with proper oral care in between visits is even more important for your young child as they form the habits that will carry them through the rest of their life. Establishing specific teeth-brushing routines in the morning and evening – and brushing your teeth at the same time – can help to reinforce the idea that this is something that must be done regularly.
Make it fun if you like but keep in mind: instruction is never as effective as leading by example. Be sure to take good care of your own smile if you want your child to do the same!