We are frequently asked “When should I bring my child to the dentist for the first time?” The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a child should see the dentist soon after the first tooth has erupted, but no later than the first birthday. These earliest appointments will primarily involve an exam and instruction on proper dental hygiene for these young teeth. Here is a link to a fact sheet on baby’s teeth written by the ADA:
Basic Tips for Dental Hygiene for Little Ones:
1) Begin washing teeth with a washcloth or Nuk brush as soon as the first tooth erupts.
2) Begin gentle flossing whenever two teeth touch. This isn’t an easy job with little ones so try to make it fun by singing, looking in the mirror, making funny sounds, etc. Small dental floss picks might be easier to use at this time. Even if you don’t have great success with flossing, don’t give up. Every little bit helps.
3) Do not use fluoride toothpaste prior to age 2. Make sure the child knows to spit the toothpaste out instead of swallowing it.
4) NEVER put your child to sleep with a bottle.
5) Remember candy and sweets aren’t the only foods that can cause decay. Limit the use of fruit juices and sticky foods such as cereal bars which can stay on teeth for long periods of time.
6) Children will need help brushing their teeth for the first several years and may need reminders to brush and floss throughout their childhoods.
7) Try having an older child brush or floss at the same time you are helping your younger child to do the same. This positive modeling may help to keep the child interested.
8) Prolonged use of sippy cups can cause damage to the front teeth. Try using no-spill cups with straws when your child is not ready for an open cup. This will allow the liquid to go back further into the mouth instead of first hitting the front teeth with every sip.