Oh Baby! When Your Baby Should Visit the Dentist

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toddler brushing teethOne of the most important aspects of a child’s wellness is their oral health. It’s essential for parents to understand that quality dental care is just as critical as physical care. Not only is establishing a dental care routine critical for their health, but it also normalizes going to the dentist and makes it less likely that a child will develop an uneasiness with being in the dentist’s chair. Getting children comfortable with the process only goes another step further in helping them develop good oral hygiene. 

Why Should Your Baby Visit the Dentist?

Beginning dental visits early will help kids understand that this is just another way to take care of their bodies, and it’ll provide parents with the peace of mind in knowing that their children’s gums and teeth are developing properly. As a general rule of thumb, children should visit the dentist by their first birthday or within six months of getting their first tooth. While children may not be able to have a complete exam, it will give the dentist a general idea of how their teeth are developing. If there are any concerns, it is also a way to think about future treatment plans and what options may be available to remedy any concerns. 

What is the Dentist Looking for During the First Visit?

The very first visit is intended to acquaint the child with the dentist. This is a brand-new process for the little one and simply going to the office, meeting the dentist, and seeing all of the tools and equipment can help children start to understand what it means to take care of their smile. 

Because children at this age are squirmy and can’t keep their mouths open for an extended period of time, it is unlikely that a complete exam can take place. However, that doesn’t mean that you should wait until your child is older. 

Depending on the child’s demeanor, a complete examination may be done, or if the child is distressed, a quick look at the gums, teeth, and jaw will provide a general idea if their mouth is healthy and developing appropriately for their age. X-rays are avoided unless there is a critical need for them. 

This is also an excellent time for the dentist to show parents a few tips for proper cleaning and other things they can do to help ensure their child is receiving the best dental care at home. 

Baby and Child Dental Care Tips

Sometimes, people forget that oral care should start right very early with a baby. You don’t have to wait for him or her to have teeth before you begin caring for their gums. Doing so will not only get a child used to have their mouth cleaned, but will help ensure that their gums and developing teeth are kept clean and strong.

There are many things that parents can do to help their children have strong and healthy teeth. Some of the best advice includes:

  • doctor looking at baby's teethCleaning gums with a damp washcloth even before teeth have erupted
  • Avoid giving babies and small children sippy cups or bottles of milk or juice at bedtime as this can lead to decay.
  • Don’t allow children to drink from a bottle for a long period of time.
  • Limit foods that may cause cavities, such as foods with large amounts of sugar.
  • Help teach children to brush their teeth and assist them until they reach at least six years of age.
  • Encourage children to brush and floss themselves so that they can learn the proper techniques. 
  • Add fluoride toothpaste to the routine once a child is old enough to spit it out after brushing.
  • Make sure your child has a fresh toothbrush. Replace as needed or every three to four months.
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush. 

All of these tips can help keep children’s teeth strong and help avoid cavities. Doing the work at home will also go a long way in normalizing visits to the dentist. 

What Can You Expect at Lockhart Dentistry?

At Lockhart Dentistry, we strive to make sure each visit is comfortable for all of our patients. This is especially true for our smallest patients who are just learning what it means to go to the dentist. Our caring staff takes our time with babies and children to ensure that they have a pleasant experience with us. 

We also work with parents to teach them ways to start a quality oral hygiene routine at home. If there are concerns with your child’s teeth, our staff will work with you to find a solution. If you would like to know more about a first-time visit and what you can expect, please contact our office. You can reach us at 317-449-8050. We look forward to hearing from you! 


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Lockhart Dentistry
8202 Clearvista Parkway, Suite 4C
Indianapolis, IN 46256
Phone: (317) 849-9715
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Wednesday: Closed
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