When Should a Child Go to the Dentist for the First Time?


Can you name the most common chronic disease in children?

It’s not diabetes, chickenpox, or strep throat. The #1 affliction among young children and teenagers is tooth decay!

With that in mind, at what age should a child go to the dentist for the first time? 48% of parents believe it should be when their child is 2-3 years old. Another 17% feel it’s not necessary until the child is 4 or older.

So, when should a child go to the dentist? Rather than relying on hearsay, let’s examine the facts.

Read on to learn more—your child’s health depends on it!

What the Experts Say

According to the American Dental Association, your child’s first visit to the dentist should either be:

  • When the first baby tooth appears
  • When your child turns one

The American Association of Pediatrics agrees with this timeline, adding that 40% of children have cavities before their first day of kindergarten.

But those are just temporary baby teeth, right? Is dental care really necessary before the permanent teeth start coming in?

Again, let’s examine the facts.

Why It’s Important

Here are 3 factors to consider when it comes to your child’s oral health.

1. Pediatricians Are Only a Start

No doubt you value the care your pediatrician gives to your child.

But while they can offer basic advice about oral care, it’s no substitute for a proper dental exam. Dentists are the only medical professionals trained to identify the earliest stages of tooth decay and other oral hygiene issues.

Ask your pediatrician to recommend a Dallas pediatric dentist (or one in your area).

2. Tooth Decay Starts Early

Why is tooth decay so prevalent in children?

One reason is the ample sugar in most kids’ diets. Juice, milk, and sugary snacks leave residue on the teeth that become the perfect breeding ground for tartar and cavities.

Left untreated, these problems can cause infection, pain, and a host of behavioral issues. Helping your child with teeth brushing is a start, but like your own teeth, they need professional care and cleaning.

3. Lays the Foundation for a Healthy Future

A final reason not to delay taking your child to the dentist is the good exposure it provides.

The younger your child is when she first visits a dentist, the less likely she’ll become nervous or fearful. A good pediatric dentist will make the experience enjoyable by giving positive reinforcement in the form of stickers, toys, or other “prizes.”

Most importantly, your child will begin a good habit that she’ll carry into adulthood. Remember that oral health is one of the key ingredients in overall health.

When Should a Child Go to the Dentist? Now You Know

Were you surprised by the information in this article? Was the first dentist visit age earlier or later than you thought?

Like other health matters, it’s important to know when should a child go to the dentist. If your child is nearing that age, don’t delay!

After all, it’s never too soon to start a good habit.

Did you find this post helpful? Check out our other recent parenting blogs for more expert advice.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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