How Often Should You Bring Your Child to the Dentist?

Dental Visit

National Children’s Dental Health Month takes place each February, which is an ideal time to talk about the important factors related to your child’s oral health. This post outlines the general recommendations for how often your child needs to see a dentist, along with tips for pediatric oral health. 


The Importance of Dental Visits

When it comes to baby teeth, it’s easy to believe that cavities don’t matter since they’re going to fall out anyway. Although these are temporary, they’re also essential to your child’s future oral health and overall development.

Infected teeth can cause pain and interfere with learning, eating, and speaking. Healthy teeth save money, too – an infection in a baby tooth might require a root canal, crown, or even extraction, which can cost hundreds of dollars for each tooth. If your child has problems with their baby teeth, such as decay, it can affect their permanent teeth later on. Moreover, the position and alignment of permanent teeth depend on the strength and health of the primary teeth. Thus, it’s vital that parents are aware of the proper pediatric dental care. 

One major step to your kid’s oral health is to schedule dental visits. This gives your child’s dentist an opportunity to establish a relationship with your child and provides you with vital information about caring for your child’s teeth. By scheduling regular dentist appointments, you can receive:

  • Receive important advice on how to care for your baby’s teeth
  • prevent tooth decay
  • Learn about sealants that can protect against cavities

Dental checkups also give a dentist the chance to spot problems early on when they are often easier to treat. Your dentist can look for signs of early orthodontic issues and offer suggestions for treatment at an early age. They also focus on the following: 

  • Clean and polish teeth
  • Examine the bite and jaw development
  • Review family dental history
  • Check for cavities
  • Apply topical fluoride
  • Review nutrition and diet habits

Moreover, scheduling regular checkups also help your child develop good oral hygiene habits at an early age, which will help them maintain healthy teeth into adulthood.


How Many Times Should You Go to the Dentist?

When should your child see a dentist for the first time? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), parents should bring children in for their first dental appointment within the first six months after their first tooth erupts. If your child’s teeth haven’t shown up yet, they should still see a dentist by their first birthday. This timeline puts your child on track to receive optimal oral health care throughout their life.

After their first dental visit, there is no maximum number of visits or a minimum number of visits per year. How often your child needs to visit the dentist will depend on their personal and family medical history and their risk for specific dental problems. Here are some critical telltale signs of dental problems that indicate that you should see the dentist.

  • bad breath
  • toothache sometimes with fever
  • chewing or swallowing difficulty
  • swollen gums or jaw
  • cold sores on lips or inside the mouth
  • loose teeth
  • facial swellings
  • white spots on the teeth or gums
  • frequent colds or ear infections 
  • spitting up more than usual

If your child’s teeth look healthy, the best rule of thumb is to schedule regular dental visits for your child twice a year. Regular visits ensure that your child receives professional dental care and stays up-to-date on any treatments needed to maintain optimal oral health. It helps prevent cavities, tooth decay, and other dental problems.


Preparing For Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

Try to ensure your kids know what to expect when going for their dental checkups. Taking time with your child beforehand is a great way to ensure a pain-free visit. Explain what will happen at the appointment in terms that they will understand. 

You can do other things to make your child’s first dental visit pleasant. The first one is to schedule an appointment during a time of day when the child will be alert, happy, and most cooperative. In addition, try not to book an appointment on the same day as other events that may be more stressful or less pleasant for the child (e.g., shots). 

Always make sure that you arrive on time so they do not have to wait too long in the waiting room, which may increase their anxiety. It may also be important to review some of the tools your child will use during the visit—such as what it feels like when water is going down your throat and into your nose, or how loud the buzzing of the drill might sound—so she is not caught off guard. Finally, it is always better not to mention any terms or words associated with pain or discomfort (e.g., shot, needle) because this may increase your child’s anxiety level.


Pediatric Dental Care Tips 

Practicing proper oral hygiene habits at home is one of the most important things you can do to keep your child’s teeth healthy. Among the things you can do are:

Be a role model! Brush and floss daily

Kids learn by imitation. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, they’re less likely to adopt these habits themselves. Teach your child to brush their teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush, pea-size fluoride toothpaste, and water. Also, demonstrate how to floss.  Without flossing, plaque can build up under the gum line and lead to gingivitis or other more severe problems.

Make dental care fun

Lots of kids’ toothbrushes have favorite cartoon characters on them, or they may light up or play music to remind kids to brush long enough. Look for these kid-friendly features when shopping for oral care products. Furthermore, you can do these free activities to help them understand the importance of healthy teeth.

Avoid sugary foods and drinks

Sugary foods feed bacteria that cause decay. Cavities occur when bacteria in the mouth form acids that attack tooth enamel. Avoid sticky foods that stick to your child’s teeth and stay there for a long time, such as dried fruits and fruit snacks. Please don’t give your child a bottle filled with juice or milk at bedtime or when they’re napping. 

Ensure they eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet can help keep kids’ teeth strong and prevent tooth decay. Ensure they get enough calcium and vitamin D.  These nutrients can be found in fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, and fortified milk. Be sure to remind them to drink lots of water after eating as this helps with the production of saliva and helps wash away food particles.


Good Teeth. Good Health!

We hope that this article will help you make good choices for your child’s oral health. Not only will you be providing the best care to maintain your child’s teeth and gums today, but you also guarantee that they will have a healthy smile for a lifetime!

For more tips on your child’s health and well-being, read our blog or call CMCFresno at (559) 455-1500. You can also book an appointment online on our main page. For those who prefer, telehealth services, please visit this link. 

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