Dental problems – parents assume they’re nothing to worry about until the time the child turns 5 or starts to complain about a toothache. However, it might come as a surprise to most parents that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first dental visit take place soon after a child’s 1st birthday.

Although the idea may seem outlandish, multiple surveys have noticed a common trend: The number of children in preschool with dental problems, especially cavities, is on the rise. So much so, in fact, that one in every four children in the U.S. has a cavity.

Parents are encouraged to make an early appointment with a dentist to learn about dietary changes and dental hygiene to prevent onset of cavities.

The First Visit

Dental problems are not restricted to cavities alone. During the first dental visit, parents get clarity on many issues, such as:

  • Caring for the toddler’s oral hygiene and needs
  • Use of fluoride
  • Teething and related developmental curve
  • Dealing with common oral habits like thumb and finger sucking
  • The relationship between oral health and diet
  • Prevention of accidents that could lead to permanent damage to the gums and teeth

A first visit will lead to multiple follow-up appointments to discuss the progress of development and treatment plans.

Tooth decay can occur as soon as the first tooth erupts, which makes oral hygiene all the more important. Although parents might argue that milk teeth fall out and make way for permanent teeth anyway, when the damage is severe, the overall health of the child can be affected.

Primary Causes of Tooth Decay

The human body has a specific flora of bacteria. There are bacteria in the mouth that convert sugar into acids. Acid produced in the mouth can last for a period of 20 minutes, during which time it is constantly in contact with the teeth. Children are at a greater risk because of their obsession with sweets.

Also, it is important that babies are not put to sleep while feeding. Fluids can pool in the mouth, and if it is sweetened, the risk of developing cavities increases.

Making the Dental Visit Fun

Doctors are saviors but sadly are also the most feared figures for children. Dentists are worse; the thought of getting your child to sit still with their mouth open is an unpleasant situation. To set a positive tone for future dental visits by ensuring that the first meeting is fun, use the following tips:

  • Schedule an appointment after the child’s naptime. When the child is less cranky, it is more cooperative.
  • Do not bribe the child to go to the dentist.
  • Remain positive; your child’s dental health rests with the dentist and they are experts. Anxiety only makes the situation worse for the parents.
  • Take your child out to the park or other similar fun activity to make the appointment memorable. Learning oral hygiene at a young age leads to a lifetime of good health.

Contact Our Office to Schedule Your Child’s First Visit

Dr. Dan Miller is a cosmetic dentist with years of experience and is an excellent choice for your child’s first dental visit. Contact us to get started.