Have you ever heard the myths “your child’s first dental visit should be at age three,” or “cavities are hereditary?” As a pediatric dentist, I was questioned about these myths daily. Unfortunately, there are still healthcare professionals (dentists and pediatricians) out there that are relaying this poor advice to several parents.
What Age Should My Child See the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child should see a pediatric dentist within six months of the eruption of their first tooth, or no later than age 1. The importance of establishing a dental home by age one can be the difference between a lifetime of routine dental care and chronic dental issues for your child to include extreme anxiety or fear.
Are Cavities Hereditary?
If you were to place a newborn baby in a bubble the day they were born and feed them sterile sugar at every meal for their entire life, your child would never get caries (aka as a cavity). There must be a host (tooth), bacteria (Strep Mutans), and simple carbohydrates (sugar) for a cavity to form.
On rare occasions, a child can be born with a genetic disorder that can cause weak enamel or dentin that can lead to rampant decay. But that is the key; the disease would affect all of your children’s teeth – not just a few teeth, with one exception – molar-incisor-hypoplasia (MIH).
Here are a few of the most helpful ways to prevent cavities from the moment your infant’s first tooth appears:
- Brush twice a day – the actual mechanical debridement is what is most important
- Limiting acidic or high-sugar drinks, especially in between meals
- Using American Dental Association (ADA) approved fluoridated toothpaste
- Flossing teeth that contact each other
- Restrict the amount of saliva your infant is exposed to – both from parents and siblings
- Don’t breastfeed on demand at night and avoid putting a baby to sleep with milk
- Water, Water, WATER!!!
I hope these suggestions have answered any questions you may have had regarding your baby, toddler, infant, rugrat, or whatever you prefer 🙂
Please leave your questions or comments below. And as always, don’t hesitate to contact me, I’m here to serve you!
To find out more information, please visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Website