When Should My Child Start Seeing the Dentist?

When Should My Child Start Seeing the Dentist?

At the private dental practice of Robert F. Wilcox, DMD, in Butte, Montana, we understand that nothing is more important to you than the health and well-being of your child. To help you achieve those goals, we offer the best in pediatric and general dental services.

As a board-certified dentist with years of experience, Dr. Wilcox helps protect your child’s teeth and gums from decay and other oral health issues that can negatively affect their overall health. From when your child’s teeth first erupt through adulthood, we provide the best dental care possible. 

But when is the right time to begin regular dental visits and what more can you do to give your child the best start with dental health? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions.  

What age is the right age to start visiting the dentist?

Getting regular dental exams is one of the most effective ways to help care for your child’s oral health. Starting dental visits when your child’s teeth first begin to erupt is key. It’s best to bring your child to see Dr. Wilcox by their first birthday

Starting early has many benefits. In addition to the benefits of cavity-preventing treatments, like sealants and fluoride, seeing Dr. Wilcox regularly at a young age helps prevent your child from developing dental anxiety. 

And an early start helps encourage good oral hygiene habits and better lifelong dental care. 

What else can I do to help keep my child’s teeth healthy?

While regular dental visits are essential, there are many things you can do at home to keep your child’s teeth in tiptop shape. Here are a few tips from Dr. Wilcox: 

Teach your child to brush from an early age

Before your baby gets their first tooth, dental care probably isn’t top of mind. But did you know that babies are born with 20 teeth already in place? These teeth usually make their appearance sometime between 6-12 months. It’s best to begin teaching and practicing oral care with your child as soon as they erupt.  

Learning to brush their teeth regularly and using the right techniques are some of the best ways to stop cavities from forming. Talk to Dr. Wilcox about getting a toothbrush designed for children, and choose a toothpaste with fluoride. 

Brush your child’s teeth for them until they’re old enough to start doing it with your help. As your child grows, supervise their brushing habits each night until they’re in third or fourth grade. Keep reminding them to brush every night before bed through their high school years.

Help your child learn to floss

Even with regular tooth brushing, only 50% of the surface area of your child’s teeth gets cleaned. Flossing cleans the areas that brushing can’t reach, so teach your child how to floss. 

Flossing helps rid your child’s teeth of cavity-causing plaque, but it can be tempting to skip it when your child’s teeth first come in and there’s lots of room between them. Actually, this is the best time for your child to learn about flossing and to develop this positive habit. 

If you’re not sure, ask Dr. Wilcox or another member of our team to show you and your child age-appropriate flossing techniques. 

Talk to your child about keeping teeth clean after snacking

Brushing and flossing before bed are important, but so is teaching your child about the value of caring for their teeth after eating snacks. This extra oral care can be the difference between a mouth full of fillings and remaining cavity-free.

Start by encouraging your child to stay away from sugary beverages and snack foods. Show them how easy it is to brush, floss, and rinse as soon as possible when they’re done eating. Help them understand that rinsing with water after eating is a good idea when they don’t have their toothbrush. 

Lead by example. Modeling good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups is a key way to help your child learn.  

If you’re ready to schedule your child’s pediatric dental exam or if you want more information about keeping their teeth healthy, we’re here to help. Simply contact our office in Butte, Montana, to get started today.

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