When Should Kids First Go to the Dentist?

There are many different aspects of being a responsible parent, including making sure that your child’s teeth and oral health are in the best possible condition. Dental visits may not seem a priority when your child is young and only just sprouting their teeth, but actually, proper oral hygiene and preventative dental care is just as important at a young age as it is in adulthood.

Childhood is really the perfect time to start teaching your child good habits that equip them to care well for their teeth as they grow into adults. One of these habits is getting them to understand the importance of going to visit their dentist and used to these appointments.


Your Child's First Time at the Dentist

The American Dental Association and the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that parents schedule their child’s first dental visit before or around the time of their first birthday – or earlier if they have some teeth already! Basically, as soon as your little one has a tooth, it’s time to start visiting your dentist.


Unsurprisingly, that first visit will be little more than a rudimentary peek inside your child’s mouth at the teeth that have erupted. The main reason for visiting at this age is to obtain important advice about how you can support your child’s oral health as they get bigger. There are some habits and behaviors that you should encourage, while many others should be avoided. For example, prolonged pacifier use, or thumb-sucking, should both be discouraged since they can affect the position of your child’s teeth and make the need for orthodontic treatment more likely. Teaching them how to brush their teeth and why we should be careful how much sugar we consume is valuable education for healthy teeth in adulthood.


Why is it Important that Kids Go to the Dentist?

It’s just as important for kids to visit the dentist as it is for adults. In fact, there are many reasons why parents should get their children used to visiting the dentist from an early age.


  • Your pediatric dentist can start your child’s dental record, which will be used to build a comprehensive dental history that could help support decision-making in the future

  • Your pediatric dentist can talk directly to your child about the importance of taking proper care of their teeth and oral hygiene, as well as tooth-friendly habits. Many children are more likely to listen to a professional than their parents!

  • Taking your child to the dentist from an early age gets them used to the dental office environment, which could help prevent them from developing anxiety or fear of visiting the dentist in the future

  • Your pediatric dentist will refer your child to an orthodontist at the appropriate time in their childhood if necessary. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic evaluation before their 7th birthday. It’s important since many children require orthodontic treatment, such as braces, to improve the alignment of their teeth



If you would like more information about taking your child to the dentist, or to schedule an appointment, please contact our experienced dental team at Tulane Family Dentistry in New Orleans, Louisiana at (504) 226-5740 today.

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