When Should I Start Taking my Child to the Dentist?

February 19th, 2015  
Filed Under Dental Health, General Dentistry, Pediatric Dental  

Taking care of your teeth is something you probably do without really thinking about it. You brush your teeth when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. You visit the dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam. But what about your children? When should they start visiting the dentist? Because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, this is the perfect time to learn about your child’s dental needs.

Dental care is extremely important, especially for children who cannot take care of their teeth on their own. At Lake Austin Family Dental, we understand the importance of dental hygiene for children and can help you take care of your child’s teeth. Taking your child to the dentist before his or her first birthday is a great first step toward establishing good oral hygiene – it will also help to stop dental problems before they can progress too far.

Plus, it never hurts to get your child used to going to the dentist from an early age so he or she doesn’t develop anxiety or fear for the dentist later on.  

Tooth Care for Children


When your children are still very young, they will not be able to take care of their own teeth, so it is up to you do to things like brushing and flossing for them. You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as his or her teeth begin erupting. Use a very soft toothbrush with a small amount of child-friendly toothpaste and brush twice a day. In addition to brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, you should also pay attention to the foods you give your child. Do not give your infant milk or juice right before bedtime, because the sugar in these beverages could stay on your infant’s teeth for hours, which could promote tooth decay. As your child grows and starts to eat solid foods, try to avoid sticky and chewy foods. If you offer your child a sugary dessert, do so right after a meal when there is extra saliva in the mouth to wash away food particles to prevent plaque buildup and decay.


Taking a Child to the Dentist


Though you will have to help your child take care of his or her teeth as soon as they start to grow, you do not need to take them to the dentist until about six months after the first tooth erupts. Starting early with routine dental visits for your child will help establish good oral care habits early as well as help to prevent tooth decay. When you schedule your child’s first appointment, ask the doctor what kind of procedures to expect and what you can do to prepare your child for their visit.


To help ensure that your child’s first visit to Lake Austin Family Dental goes smoothly, there are a few tips you should follow:

  • Talk to your child about the dentist before the exam to build excitement rather than fear.
  • Schedule the appointment early in the day while your child is awake and alert.
  • Ask the dentist if you can sit in the chair and hold your child during the exam (for children under 3 years).
  • Continue to care for your child’s teeth by brushing and flossing.

    Maintaining good dental hygiene is incredibly important, and the earlier you start, the lower your risk for dental problems, like gingivitis and tooth decay. If you want the best for your child, start brushing early and schedule an appointment with Lake Austin Family Dental.