Why should you take your 1 year old to a pediatric dentist? [Updated for 2020]

A baby looking out from under a white towel

John’s Creek, GA – People always ask me why would a one-year-old need to go to the pediatric dentist. Many parents inform me that their pediatrician advised them to start taking their child to a pediatric dentist at age three or four.  While we are happy that pediatricians are advising parents to take their children to a pediatric dentist, it is actually very important for a parent to establish their child’s dental home at a younger age.  According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a dental home is the ongoing relationship between a patient and dentist and is a place where the patient and parent receive comprehensive dental care and education on their child’s oral health.  The one-year dental visit is mostly educational and helps ensure that parents learn the tools they need to take care of their child’s teeth.

I can’t tell you the number of cavities found on three or four-year-olds that could have possibly been prevented if the parent had some proper guidance regarding diet and oral hygiene instructions for their infants and toddlers.  The importance of establishing a dental home for an infant has several benefits.

One great benefit of establishing a dental home at an early age is that your infant will establish trust with the dentist and dental team at an early age and will be comfortable with someone else looking inside their mouths.  This is helpful because should your child need any dental treatment as a toddler, this will help decrease a chance of developing dental anxiety.  They learn and understand early on that going to the dentist is not necessarily a bad place per most people’s perception. It is a place where they can have fun with the staff, get shiny teeth, receive a free toothbrush, and win a prize afterward.

Having a dental home for your infant is very beneficial for first-time mothers.  Typically pediatric dentists will go over what foods are healthy for their child’s teeth, the effects of constant exposure to juice, the effects of gummy snacks, putting a child to sleep with milk in their bottle, and other nutritional information.   Many new parents may not be aware of how quickly a child can develop baby bottle decay and we can help discuss ways to prevent baby dental decay from happening or show parents the signs of possible cavities developing on their child’s teeth.

In addition to discussing diet and nutrition, we advise parents on oral habits, such as the effects of long-term thumb sucking or sucking on a pacifier.  We help guide parents on the best ways to wean their child off their habit and this will help decreasing their child’s chances of developing orthodontic problems in the future.

Finally, we educate parents on the importance of their child’s oral hygiene and how it is very important that they are participating with their child’s daily brushing routine. It’s so easy to forget small details like cleaning your child’s tongue or cleaning their tiny teeth with a finger toothbrush, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.

We provide techniques for the best ways to brush and view their infant’s and toddler’s teeth. We understand that it can sometimes be challenging to brush a child’s teeth, especially when they are being resistant, but we can help develop strategies so it can be fun for them too! We also help parents introduce fluoridated toothpaste to their child’s oral hygiene routine and explain the importance of exposure to fluoride and how it can help prevent cavities from developing. Our Alpharetta pediatric dentist can show you a baby teeth eruption chart to track your child’s growth and assess their gum health. There are many measures you and your dentist can take to ensure your baby’s dental health later on.

It’s recommended to take your child to the dentist before their first birthday to make sure their gums and teeth growing properly. At Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, our John’s Creek pediatric dentist will treat your child with care and make sure you know the best way to take care of your child’s teeth. You can contact your local Pediatric Dentist in Roswell to schedule your child’s first dental visit.

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