At What Age Should My Child Start Visiting a Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. Primary teeth typically begin growing in around 6 months of age.
Unique Pediatric Dentistry Facts
Most Parents do not recognize the importance of dental care of primary teeth. For instance, did you know:
- Your child’s primary teeth begin developing in your 2nd trimester of pregnancy?
- The first tooth usually erupts from the gums at approximately 6 months old.
- Bottle feeding your baby at bedtime while he/she drifts off to sleep can cause tooth decay, the sugars from the milk or juice remains on the teeth and causes pitting in the enamel which leaves
- room for bacteria to form.
- You can begin good dental hygiene before the teeth erupt, by gently rubbing the gums with a clean, damp washcloth to clean the gums of residue from eating/drinking and prevent bacteria build up in the mouth.
How to Handle “Baby Teeth”
According to the AAPD, it is very important to keep primary (or “baby”) teeth in place until they are lost naturally. The primary teeth are important for many reasons including:
- Helping children chew properly to maintain good nutrition.
- Involvement in speech development.
- Helping save space for permanent teeth.
Although most children are not capable of brushing their own teeth until the age of 2 or 3, brushing the teeth is very important as soon as the first tooth erupts. The parents should use a baby tooth brush and brush the new teeth with plain water until the age of about 2. At the age of 2, children usually are able to spit, this is when you teach them how to brush their teeth, using just a small pea sized dab of children’s toothpaste on a children’s soft tooth brush. When teaching a child how to brush their teeth and how long to keep brushing, it is a great idea to play or sing a children’s nursery rhyme or song that is about the length of the “itsy bitsy spider” song.
If you have other questions about your child’s dental health either call us at (303) 688-3800 or visit AAPD’s FAQs for more pediatric dentistry facts.