All posts | January 12, 2024

How Often Should Children Go to the Dentist?

by Dr. Liel Grinbaum

How Often Should Children Go to the Dentist?

Every responsible parent would agree that it is important to care for all aspects of their child's health, including their dental health. A large part of maintaining a complete dental care routine for your children is to include visits to the dentist's office. However, are you sure that you fully understand how often a child should go to the dentist?

In this article, we'll explain the frequency with which a child should visit the dentist. We'll also discuss a few other important considerations you should make about your child's dental health. 

Dental Visit Frequency for Children

In general, the rate at which a child should visit the dentist does not vary much compared to what experts recommend for adults. In most cases, a child should go to the dentist about once every six months. At times, a dentist may recommend more frequent visits, but going twice per year is often enough to keep most young mouths healthy and clean. 

At What Age Should a Child Begin Going to the Dentist?

If you are a new parent, you're likely wondering when you should start bringing your child to the dentist. While dental visits are not immediately necessary for newborns, they become more important earlier in your child's life than you might expect. 

There is no set age at which you should start bringing your child to the dentist. Instead, you'll need to monitor the development that goes on inside their mouths. In fact, once the first tooth begins to arrive in your child's mouth, it's almost time to see the dentist. After you see the first tooth emerge, you should plan to visit the dentist with your child within six months. 

Visiting a dentist early in life is an excellent way to set the foundation for lifelong dental health. During your child's first appointment, the dentist will not only clean and inspect their teeth but also provide you with helpful insights unique to infant tooth care. 

Do Children Need a Different Dentist than Adults?

When it comes time to bring your child to the dentist for the first time, it is essential to understand that not all dentists are equally capable of taking care of a child's mouth. Instead, there is a specialized form of dentistry, known as pediatric dentistry, that is ideal for young children. 

The needs of a child's mouth and an adult's mouth are entirely different. Fortunately, pediatric dentists are the perfect people to deal with younger smiles. Pediatric dentistry focuses specifically on the needs of younger dental patients, which is why it is the perfect service for a child visiting the dentist for the first time. 

What Happens if a Child Doesn't Go to the Dentist Often Enough?

There are many significant downsides when you fail to bring your child to the dentist often enough. The most obvious of these downsides is that it is more likely that bacteria and plaque will build up on your child's teeth. 

As plaque accumulates, it reacts with sugars to create acids that wear away at the outer surfaces of teeth. If this continues untreated, your child will develop cavities and other issues related to tooth decay. While it is helpful to clean teeth at home to prevent plaque build-ups, the only way to guarantee that those cleanings are sufficient is to visit a dentist for confirmation. 

Along with ensuring cleanliness, a dentist will also monitor the development within your child's mouth. If you don't keep up with regular visits, you'll have no way to anticipate the changes that go on as your child's teeth grow. 

Dentists are also able to notice potential dental concerns that you would not pick up on by yourself. By recognizing these potential problems early on, dentists have a better chance of intervening and resolving any issues that might compromise your child's dental health or development. 

Best Way to Keep a Kid's Teeth Clean at Home

While it is incredibly important to keep up with regular dental visits, it is also crucial that you develop a dental cleaning routine for your child at home. This routine can begin as soon as the first tooth arrives in your child's mouth. 

Up until your child is about 18 months old, all you need to do is brush their teeth gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water. No toothpaste is necessary until your child passes 18 months of age. 

Additionally, flossing won't be necessary for your children until they are a bit older. Generally, your child should only begin flossing once they are older than two years old. Until that age, children's teeth are not close enough together to warrant flossing. 

During your at-home cleanings, it is important to help teach your child to brush on their own. While they will need your assistance while they are young, the sooner they learn to brush as a regular habit, the sooner they will be prepared to care for their own teeth as they get older. 

Find the Right Dental Team for You and Your Family

As this article reveals, there is a lot to consider when it comes to the health and cleanliness of your child's teeth and gums. Since that is the case, it is extremely helpful to find a dentist that you can trust to answer your questions and clean your child's teeth effectively. 

At Smile and Grins, our office is full of inviting and educated staff who understand how to make dental visits exciting and informative for both children and parents. We also have extensive experience offering pediatric dental services to countless young visitors. 

Smiles and Grins is located in New York, NY and if you are in our area, we would love the chance to help keep your child's smile healthy and clean. Reach out to us today to learn more or schedule your child's first appointment.

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