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At What Age Should a Child Go to the Dentist? It Might Be Sooner Than You Think

At What Age Should a Child Go to the Dentist? It Might Be Sooner Than You Think
March 30, 2019 Kris Asleson

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20% of children between the ages of 5 to 11 have one untreated dental cavity.

With so many dental health options readily available your child doesn’t have to be a part of this statistic. Most cavities occur when children don’t visit the dentist soon enough.

If you’re a bit confused about when your child should start visiting the dentist you’re not the only one. Many parents aren’t sure and have asked themselves, “What age should a child go to the dentist?”

Here’s a guide that will help you to make the right decision about your child’s first dental visit.

1. The Importance of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are important not just because they help your child eat but because they help with speech development. Remember that our teeth and tongue help us form words properly.

If you look at it from this perspective you will see how important baby teeth are for a child who is learning to speak. A great smile will also make your child feel good about themselves and their appearance.

2. What Age Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

what age should a child go to the dentist

The best age for your child to visit the dentist for the first time is after their first tooth has appeared or when they’re a year old. This is the recommendation of the American Dental Association. When children visit the dentist at this early age it helps to prevent cavities.

Tooth decay becomes a very real possibility as soon as your child’s first tooth arrives because young children are not immune to gum diseases such as gingivitis.  Continued maintenance of teeth also ensures that your child’s nutritional needs are not compromised by broken or rotting teeth.

3. Calming Jitters

If you find yourself putting off that first dental visit because you’re scared about how your child will react, you need to find ways to start calming those jitters.

If your child is very young they will most likely be able to sit in your lap during the visit. If your child is older you can educate them about the importance of healthy gums by reading fun books about other children’s first dental visit.

Play dentist with your child and take turns role-playing dentist and patient. You should examine each other’s teeth during the game to further reduce any nervousness about visiting the dentist.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the answer to the question, “What age should a child go to the dentist?” You also know how important that first visit is and that it shouldn’t be delayed once your child’s first tooth has appeared.

It’s not unusual for children to have jitters about visiting the dentist. However, as a parent, you are not powerless to quell those fears. You can try the activities mentioned here.

Another important thing you should remember is that, if you have your own fear of the dentist you need to try to hide it as much as possible so that you don’t pass it on to your child.

If you would like more information about your child’s dental health, please visit our blog.