Your baby’s early years are full of exciting firsts – the first steps, first words, first Christmas or another holiday. But while most of these milestones are met with great fanfare, there’s one first that often gets forgotten altogether: the first visit to the dentist.
Many parents don’t realize that babies need dental care sooner than you might think. In fact, a study from the University of Michigan found that about 70% of parents didn’t know when their babies should start getting dental exams at all! Delayed dental care can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and other problems that can impact a baby’s development. Therefore, it’s very important that your little one sees the dentist at the right time.
So, when exactly should your baby have their first dentist appointment? Let’s talk about it today.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Firstly, it’s important to understand why your baby’s first teeth need dental care. Baby teeth aren’t just here to look cute (although those first toothy smiles are PRECIOUS).
Baby teeth play an important role in your baby’s development. As your baby ages and begins eating solid foods, his or her teeth help with chewing, which allows your baby to get more nutrients from their food. Teeth are also essential in forming certain sounds, which means they are an important part of speech development.
Finally, your baby’s first teeth are a great opportunity to teach them good oral hygiene habits. While these teeth aren’t here to stay, your baby’s next set are – and the good habits they learn early on will help ensure that their permanent teeth remain healthy and beautiful.
When Should a Baby Visit the Dentist?
Most babies get their first teeth when they are about six months old. Ideally, you should schedule an appointment for your little one soon after that first tooth breaks through – but any time between their first tooth and their first birthday is fine.
This may seem awfully early. After all, babies that age can barely sit still, let alone deal with a dental exam! But remember: as soon as your baby has a tooth, he or she can get cavities. The sooner you start visiting the dentist, the sooner you will be able to give your little one the best possible oral health care.
At-Home Care for Baby Teeth
In addition to visiting the dentist, it is important to take care of your baby’s teeth from the very beginning. As soon as your little one gets his or her first tooth, it’s time to start working on that at-home care! Here are a few tips for taking care of your baby’s teeth:
Brush Those Chompers
Once your child has a tooth, he or she can start learning how to brush. In the beginning, you’ll want to brush your child’s teeth for them; use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (make sure they don’t swallow any) and a soft-bristled brush and brush every side of the tooth. Once your baby has two teeth next to each other, you can start flossing, too!
Keep the Gums Bacteria-Free
Another important part of oral hygiene is taking care of your gums. For your child, this is particularly important – as they start teething, they are almost ALL gums! Wipe down your baby’s gums each day with a damp cloth to clear out any bacteria and offer them water instead of sugary drinks and juices between meals. This will help keep their mouth clear and clean.
Schedule Your Baby’s First Appointment
If your little one is getting their first teeth, it’s time to start looking for a pediatric dentist. The Manus Dental team is happy to care for your baby, giving them a stress-free experience that keeps their smiles healthy. Call one of our offices to schedule your baby’s appointment today!