The sooner children begin getting regular dental checkups, the healthier their mouths will stay throughout their lives. Early checkups help prevent cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to pain, trouble concentrating and other medical issues. Youngsters with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that every child should visit a dentist by age 1 – or as soon as the first tooth appears. This “well baby visit” teaches parents and caregivers how to care for their children’s teeth and help them remain cavity-free.
For example, pediatric dentists see many young patients with cavities that came from falling asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. The dentist can tell the parent or caregiver:
- Why this causes decay
- The importance of encouraging children to drink milk, water and juice from a cup as they approach their first birthday
- How to brush young teeth.