When should your child visit the dentist for the first time? All things considered, the earlier the better. Studies have shown that visiting the dentist at an early age (around 1-2 years old), followed by regular dental visits, is positively correlated with lifelong oral health.
Teeth and gum health is important for young children. How important? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of children (more than 40%) have some sort of tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten.
Given the impact of early childhood dental visits on oral (and overall) health, many parents want to know when they should have their child visit the dentist.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Two primary factors determine the timing of your child’s first trip to the dentist:
- When their first tooth erupts
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends every child should see their dentist by age one, or six months after primary teeth first appear.
Because most primary teeth start to erupt around six months, the age one guideline usually holds firm. However, some children don’t get their primary teeth until later. For example, if your child has their primary teeth erupt at nine months, they should see the dentist between age one and 15 months.
Depending on when your child’s first dental visit occurs, they may experience anxiety or nervousness. Before age one, they’re most likely too young to be nervous. If their initial trip to the dentist doesn’t happen until 16 months or so, you can ask your dentist about any questions or concern you or your child have.