When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?

small girl brushing her teeth

Raising a child can be difficult and will lead to parents asking a lot of questions. One of the most important questions when it comes to raising a child is, “when should I start taking my child to the dentist?”

According to most dentists, parents should start taking their child to the dentist around the time of their first birthday, or no later than the ages of 2-3. Another general rule of thumb is to take your child to the dentist six months after the first tooth has emerged. If you have yet to take your child to the dentist, schedule an appointment right away! Putting off your child’s first dentist appointment increases the risk of your baby having cavities or plaque buildup before his or her first visit.

What to Expect:

Your child’s first dentist visit is a very important one. The initial visit will be the “icebreaker” visit and will allow your child to become familiarized with the dentist. A child’s first visit to the dentist will be a short one, consisting of a gentle examination of the jaw, bite, gums, and any teeth that may be visible at the time.

If needed, the dentist will perform a light cleaning in order to remove any plaque or tarter buildup within the teeth. The dentist might even want to take an x-ray of the child’s teeth and jaw to make sure everything is developing in a healthy way. Your dentist will also be able to provide you with a demonstration of how you and your child should start caring for their teeth.

Caring for Your Child’s Teeth at Home:

After your child’s first visit, your dentist will be able to assess whether or not it’s okay to begin using fluoride toothpaste. As soon as your child’s first teeth appear, it’s important to start brushing them with a small toothbrush and water.

If your child does not have any teeth yet, use a warm, damp cloth after each feeding to help clear any excess food to help clear bacteria from the mouth and gums.

It’s important to begin stressing the importance of brushing to your child at a very early age, especially brushing at night before bed. To start, you may assist your child in brushing their teeth while gradually allowing them to brush on their own to help build confidence and accomplishment.