The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that parents should make an initial “well-baby” appointment with a pediatric dentist approximately six months after the emergence of the first tooth, or no later than the child’s first birthday.
Although this may seem surprisingly early, the incidence of infant and toddler tooth decay has been rising in recent years. Tooth decay and early cavities can be exceptionally painful if they are not attended to immediately, and can also set the scene for poor oral health in later childhood.
As a pediatric dentist, we are specialized in child psychology and child behavior, and we can be an important source of information, help, and guidance. Oftentimes, we can provide strategies for eliminating unwanted oral habits (for example, pacifier use and thumb sucking) and can also help you in establishing a sound daily oral routine for your child.
A baby is at risk for tooth decay as soon as the first tooth emerges. During the first visit, we will help you implement a preventative strategy to protect the teeth from harm, and also demonstrate how infant teeth should be brushed and flossed.
Importantly, we can also assess and balance the infant’s fluoride intake. Too much fluoride ingestion between the ages of one and four years old may lead to a condition known as fluorosis in later childhood. Conversely, too little fluoride may render young tooth enamel susceptible to tooth decay.