Q&A: When should a baby or toddler go to the dentist for the first time?
When should a baby or toddler go to the dentist for the first time?
I am so glad you asked because I find that very few parents are aware that babies should have their first official tooth checkup within six months of the first tooth showing up—a much-anticipated event that can occur as early as 4 months if not earlier! Even without a first tooth, however, it is recommended that all kids start getting dental checkups by age 1. That’s because we now know that there are lots of things we can do related to our children’s oral health during their earliest years—whether it’s getting rid of the bedtime bottle or starting the tooth- (or gum-) brushing routine early—that can have a positive long-term effect on their teeth.
We also know that baby teethplay a more important role than they often get credit for. Committing to helping your child learn to take care of his teeth early and making sure that he gets in every six months for checkups starting by age 1 is therefore a very wise idea. Of course, as the author of a children’s book designed to help parents get kids interested in taking care of their teeth and looking forward to seeing the dentist called Melvin the Magnificent Molar, I will also add that I firmly believe healthy habits should be introduced as early as possible—ideally long before your child enters the age of independence (sometimes referred to as the terrible twos, but typically persisting throughout childhood and adolescence!).
My philosophy is based on the fact that babies love to put things in their mouths, so why not start out early with a toothbrush and regular six-month dental visits well before you’re likely to be met with any resistance. I’ve found that taking this approach stands to make your child healthier and your life a lot easier!