kid brushing his teethAccording to a 2009 study, most children in the U.S. don’t see a dentist until they over two years old.  This is far later than recommended by medical and dental professionals.  The study found that the average age of children’s first dental visit was 2.6 years old.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that infants and toddlers see a dentist for the first time within six months of their first tooth erupting.  Since most babies begin getting their primary teeth around six months, children should generally see the dentist around their first birthday.

Primary teeth are important!

According to the AAPD, it’s important that baby teeth (aka primary teeth) remain in place until they are lost naturally.  Baby teeth help children chew properly, which enables good nutrition. They also play an important role in speech development.  If a toddler loses teeth early due to decay, the adult teeth may come in differently that they were supposed to, creating future orthodontic issues.

Making Dental Visits Calm and Routine

Visiting the dentist around a child’s first birthday can help make dentists visits routine and easy. And older toddler may be frightened or nervous if they’ve never been to a dentist before.  If you have waited past the year mark to take your toddler in, consider bringing your child (and another caregiver) to your next check up so they can see you getting your teeth cleaned and examined. This may help them feel more comfortable with the dentist’s office.

If you have questions about bringing your child in for their first dental check up, please give us a call or send us and email.  We want to help you make the process as easy as possible so your children develop great dental hygiene habits from a young age.