What should you know about your child’s first dental visit?

New parents often ask, “When should my child first see a dentist?”
The short answer is, “First visit by first birthday.” That’s the view of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Pediatricians agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who are at risk of early childhood cavities visit a pediatric dentist by age 1.

The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that cavities are increasing in preschool-aged children. More than 1 in 4 children in the U.S. has had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many children get cavities as early as age 2.

To prevent early childhood cavities, parents must determine a child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems. But cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health.

The age 1 dental visit teaches parents:
• How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth

• Proper use of fluoride

• The effects of oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking

• Ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth

• Teething and milestones in development

• The link between diet and oral health

After this first visit, the dentist will suggest a schedule of follow-up visits. In the past, dentists typically called for visits every six months. Now, the schedule may vary according to each child’s needs and risks. As your child grows, the dental team can help you learn how to prevent common oral problems.

Bring your children to the clinic for the “Little Teeth, Big Smiles” program
The 86th Dental Squadron understands the importance of oral health initiatives and their impact on the military community.

To enhance the oral and general health of the military population, the 86th Dental Squadron will host a walk-in clinic for children up to 10 years old from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Ramstein Dental Clinic, Bldg. 301. This clinic will feature dental examinations, cleanings and educational services. 

(Courtesy of 86th Medical Group)