The American Dental Association recommends that children first see a dentist sometime between the appearance of their first tooth and their first birthday. While this may seem premature, your child’s oral health depends on early intervention for any possible issues. There are several reasons you want to take your child to the dentist at an early age, for both physical and psychological motivations.
In This Post:
Tooth Decay Can Begin Early
Many parents mistakenly believe that cavities are caused by candy, poor diet or bad oral hygiene. While these factors certainly don’t help, tooth decay can also appear in babies who are still eating only formula or breast milk. Sometimes called baby bottle decay, early cavities can be repaired easily if they are caught while small and superficial. Finding and correcting cavities while your child is young will save their baby teeth from further damage and protect their adult teeth as well.
Other Defects Can Be Hard to See
If your child has a chip or crack in their tooth, this can lead to pain, decay and infection. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to see these problems with the naked eye and no special tools until a lot of damage is done. This is especially true if the problem is on the back of a tooth or between two teeth. A pediatric dentist in Katy, TX can find these small issues and repair them before they can bloom into larger concerns.
Mouth Issues Need to Be Identified Early
Behaviors such as thumb-sucking, tooth-grinding and tongue-thrusting can cause oral issues that will haunt your child for life. While many children engage in these behaviors, aggressive or prolonged thumb-sucking can cause the front teeth to protrude. Some children begin grinding their teeth quite young, which can lead to tooth damage and jaw problems. Tongue thrusting can also cause misaligned teeth, pain, and problems with chewing, speaking or swallowing.
Your dentist will be able to give you advice about curtailing these behaviors before they impact your child’s oral health.
You absolutely do not want your child’s first dental visit to be traumatic. A scary or painful dental visit as a first experience can lead to a deep-seated aversion, which will make the twice-yearly appointments difficult for you and your child. Some children that are not taken to the dentist early may refuse to cooperate because there is no basic level of trust established. Allowing a stranger to insert their fingers and hard metal objects into your mouth is a learned skill that needs to be cultivated at a young age.
Beginning dental visits early in life will make the examination and all the attendant sights, sounds and smells routine. If you want your child to cooperate and be calm, take him or her to the dentist at a young age.
Discovering Other Health Issues
Our teeth say a lot about our health. Discolored teeth in young children is usually harmless and can be a result of fluoride or calcium deposits. While rare, other issues such as hepatitis and certain forms of heart disease can be found by examining the teeth. Early detection of such health concerns is crucial for your child’s well-being and might be missed by a pediatrician. Discoloration can also point to genetically weak enamel, which needs to be managed to avoid decay and damage to the teeth.
While it may seem hyper-vigilant to take a baby to the dentist, it is necessary for many reasons. In addition to having a bright and healthy smile, dental care is an integral part of overall health. Even if your child’s teeth are absolutely perfect, having routine checkups is essential to forming trust and cooperation in your child.