child's first dental appointment - kid brushing teeth


In the United States, tooth decay is the most chronic childhood disease of oral health.  Most children in the United States do not have their first dentist appointment until they are five years old.  However, the right time to visit the dentist is when their first tooth erupts from the gums, or on their first birthday.  Only one out of four children see a dentist when the first tooth breaks the gums or when the child’s first birthday rolls around.

Even though the young body appears healthy, the teeth are experiencing the trauma of sugar residue and acidic foods. Even “baby teeth” still need professional attention.  A baby’s short, and long-term exposure to sugar-filled formula, milk, or juice can create an issue referred to by dentists as “baby bottle tooth decay.”  If the decay is not treated, it can be the catalyst for dental infection, pain, and even severe tooth decay.

Preventing tooth decay requires maintenance and a healthy routine.  The teeth are just like other body parts.  They need attention and care, and that care should start at an early age.  Parents can reduce a baby’s exposure to decay by gently wiping the teeth and gums off with a damp cloth after meals, at bedtime and when they wake up.   As soon as the first tooth arrives, a soft-bristled brush and water should be used to gently clean the tooth. Most dentists recommend weaning a child off the bottle by their first birthday.  If sugary drinks are served, they should include a straw to reduce contact with the teeth.

The first dental examination sets the mood for future visits.  Dentists are aware of the fear that exists in developing minds, so the first visit is a fact-finding mission.  Dentists look for dental development issues, and they share information about maintaining and protecting baby teeth.  Even though when the first tooth erupts or the first birthday, these other steps will make a difference.  The first visit will be a successful and fearless one.