February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and you can celebrate by making sure your children see the dentist regularly. Even your babies need a dental exam. Learn more about when your baby should see the dentist for the first time and what to expect at this visit.
Schedule Your Baby’s First Dental Visit
According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your child should see the dentist by the time he or she turns six months or within six month of the first baby tooth eruption. Rather than a full dental exam, the initial visit allows the dentist to meet you and your child, gather medical and dental history and teach you about good oral hygiene and proper preventative care. The dentist will simply feel your child’s gums and visually inspect any erupted teeth to make sure they’re healthy. It’s a non-invasive appointment that sets the stage for good oral health in the future.
Choose a Dentist
You could take your baby to see your dentist. However, consider scheduling your child’s first dental appointment with a pediatric dentist who specializes in treating infants and children. The entire dental team is prepared to examine squirming, fearful and anxious children, and the waiting room is filled with age appropriate books, toys and games or an aquarium.
Make the Visit Fun
No matter how you feel about dentists, your child needs to know that visits to this medical professional are fun and safe. Keep your anxiety in check by treating the first dental visits like a fun play date. Smile at your child, speak cheerfully and remain calm so that your baby feels calm and relaxed.
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene at Home
Your baby’s oral health improves between dental visits when you practice good oral hygiene at home. Rub your baby’s gums with a clean, wet washcloth after meals to reduce bacteria growth. Once the first baby tooth emerges, brush it at least twice daily with non-fluoridated toothpaste as you promote healthy oral habits and a healthy mouth.
When you take your baby to see the dentist, you lay the foundation for a lifetime of good oral hygiene. Take advantage of your dental insurance and schedule your baby’s first exam today.