“First visit by first birthday.” This is the view of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Pediatricians agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who are at risk of early childhood cavities visit a pediatric dentist by age one.
National studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than one in four children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of one. Many kids get cavities as early as age two.
To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems.
But cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. The age one dental visit lets parents discuss the following important facts
How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth
1. Proper use of fluoride
2. Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking
3. Ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth
4. Teething and milestones of development
5. The link between diet and oral health
After this first visit, the pediatric dentist will suggest a schedule of follow-up visits. In the past, dentists typically called for visits every six months. However, this schedule may vary according to each child’s needs and risks. As the child grows, the dental team can help you, the parent, learn how to prevent common oral problems.
Before leaving the office, you should have a clear idea about
1. Your child’s development
2. Your responsibilities
3. Follow-up care by the dentist
4. Your child’s likelihood of having problems with cavities or bite
You should have your questions answered. You also should know what you and the dentist can do together to make sure your child has excellent oral health.