Many parents don’t think about taking their child to the dentist until they start school. A number of dental professionals say that’s a bit late — by having an initial dental checkup before the age of two, your child can begin lifelong habits that will keep their teeth and gums healthy.
According to a survey of primary child caregivers, most children see a dentist for the very first time around 2.6 years of age. It is recommended to start introducing your child to the dentist by the age of 12 months or once their first baby tooth appears.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Several caregivers fail to realize the importance of their child’s primary (“baby”) teeth. The first visit helps parents understand what they can do for their child’s oral health until they’re old enough to care for their own teeth and gums. The dentist can also show how to properly teach flossing and brushing.
Baby teeth need to be attended to until they come out naturally by themselves. The teeth are needed for development in several areas:
- Chewing food
- Developing proper speech
- Creating the necessary space for permanent teeth
Relaxing Your Child Prior to the First Dental Visit
The main reason why it is important to take your child to the dentist at an early age is because they likely won’t be anxious about it. Hopefully, you can avoid nervousness and preconceptions by familiarizing your child with the dentist well before they get older.
Here are three ways to prepare a child prepared for their first dental appointment without any jitters:
- Show them what they can expect. Let your child come with you to your next dental appointment and allow them to see you getting your teeth cleaned.
- Teach them about the benefits of dental health. There are library books that can help your child learn about caring for their teeth, and describe what a visit to the dentist will be like. Kids’ shows like “Doc McStuffins” and “Daniel Tiger” also talk about the importance of dental health and what it’s like to visit a clinic.
- Play pretend. Take turns pretending to be a dentist and patient, allowing your child to have fun and relax. You can do this by counting each other’s teeth. This will help them understand what it’s like to hold your mouth open for a period of time while a dentist examines teeth.
So if you have young ones who have yet to visit a dentist, or need more suggestions to ready your child for an appointment, contact Lambton Family Dental today at (519) 344-5747. We care about patients of all ages and want children to begin a lifetime of great oral care.