When Should Your Child’s First Visit To The Dentist Be?

stock photo of child's first visit to the dentist

A baby’s first tooth is a milestone for baby and parents alike! After all, parents are all too aware of the fussiness and sleeplessness that come with the erupting tooth. It’s an exciting rite of passage, but it also adds a brand-new responsibility: going to the dentist! What do parents of teething toddlers need to know about dental visits?

Going to the dentist is integral to maintaining good oral health, and it’s never too early to start. In fact, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that children have their first dental visit by their first birthday. So, when should children start going to the dentist in South Africa? Let’s take a closer look.

The South African Dental Association (SADA) advises that children should start visiting the dentist by the age of two, or when their first tooth appears, whichever comes first. This may seem young, but there are several good reasons for this recommendation. Let’s take a look at the logic behind this advice:

  • Avoid teeth problems from the start with paediatric preventative care.

First, early dental visits can help prevent dental problems before they start. Prevention of dental problems is our first and most fundamental belief at The Family Dental Care Group. By seeing a dentist early on, parents can learn how to properly care for their child’s teeth and gums and identify potential issues before they become serious. This can help to avoid cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues that can cause pain and discomfort for children.

  • Make the dentist your child’s friend.

Another reason to start dental visits early is to help children become comfortable with going to the dentist. Many children are afraid of the dentist because parents are reactive when it comes to dental care. If a child only ever visits the dentist when they are already sore or uncomfortable, they will start associating dental procedures with pain. This fear can prevent them from getting the help they need as they get older. By starting dental visits early, parents can help their children become familiar with the dentist’s office and dental procedures. A proactive approach to your child’s dental care will help reduce anxiety and make dental visits more comfortable for everyone.

  • Empower your child to take responsibility for their dental care.

A very important role of a dentist is teaching kids how to care for their teeth. After all, your child needs to care for their teeth throughout life! The dentist won’t stand at the basin to check if they use the correct brushing techniques or floss daily. Let the dentist fulfil their vital role of educator by asking them to show your child the practical, day-to-day process of caring for their teeth and gums. Encourage good oral hygiene habits from an early age! This includes brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly, and avoiding sugary snacks and drinks.

During the visit, parents should feel free to ask any questions they may have about their child’s dental health. The dentist can advise on topics such as teething, pacifiers, and thumb-sucking, and can also offer guidance on healthy eating habits that promote strong teeth and gums. So, if you haven’t already, schedule your child’s first dental visit today – it’s a great way to invest in their future oral health!

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