When Should You Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit?

Take your child to the dentist after the first tooth appears, but no later than her first birthday.  Your dentist will check for decay and overall tooth and jaw development and will give tips on cleaning your child’s teeth.

Baby teeth are important.  They help your baby chew, speak and smile.  They hold space in the jaws for the permanent teeth.  When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in.

Decay can occur with the first tooth.  When that tooth appears, start brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush.  Decide, with the help of your child’s dentist, whether or not to use fluoride toothpaste.  If used before your child is about 3 years old, use an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.  At about age 3, you should start putting a pea-sized drop on your child’s toothbrush.

Sources:  The American Dental Association; the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research