Parents often wonder when they should bring their child in for their first dental visit.

I recommend around the age of one is a great time to schedule your child’s first dental visit, a well-baby check.

Start Oral Hygiene Early

I always say “a decayed tooth is a rotten reason for a child’s first visit to the dentist.” Oral hygiene starts before your baby even has teeth. Starting the habit of good oral hygiene with your child at a very early age is important. Wipe off their gums after breastfeeding or bottle feeding, dilute juice by over 50 percent, limit chewy snacks, brush their teeth when they erupt, and avoid bottles at bedtime helps decrease their chances of decay and hopefully prevent “bottle rot”.

Baby teeth, (primary or deciduous teeth), typically begin their eruption between five and six months of age, and continue until your child is about two years old. And be prepared with lots of quarters and 50-cent pieces because you can expect 20 of them!

Your Child’s Visit to the Dentist

Here at Floss our goal is for your child to have a positive first dental visit. We go over home care with the parents, check the eruption patterns, do an exam checking for any decay, and show the child that brushing is fun! We let them get used to the dental chair and instruments, which most kids find fascinating, and then they get pick a toy out of our treasure chest. Introducing children to the dentist at a young age will help instill good oral hygiene habits, aid in a lifetime of healthy teeth, and allow for prevention instead of repair.

Losing Teeth and What to Expect

Spacing between baby teeth is normal and actually more desirable. Permanent teeth are much larger and will replace the primary teeth – the extra spacing allows for the room needed to prevent crowding. From the ages of six to 13, your child will get their permanent teeth (excluding their wisdom teeth or third molars). Your child will get their first permanent tooth around the age of six. But don’t be alarmed, it will most likely be a molar and not a loose front tooth, however, losing the lower incisors will be soon to follow.

It is recommended to encourage your child to wiggle their loose teeth. This allows for normal exfoliation of their primary teeth, and creates a place for their permanent tooth to grow, and also helps avoid “double” rows of teeth.

Another added benefit of timely exfoliation of baby teeth is oral hygiene. When a tooth is loose, children tend not to want to brush as well around that tooth because when it moves it is tender, this may lead to increased plaque and gum irritation. As a rule of thumb, until your child can write their name legibly, help them brush their teeth at least once per day to decrease their chances of decay.