When your child has their full set of baby teeth, it's time to take them to the dentist to begin fostering good dental hygiene habits. Right? Wrong.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends children visit the dentist even earlier, within six months after that first tooth emerges, which is typically about age one. Don't worry - this first visit won't involve any extensive cleaning. The first visit will familiarize your toddler with a dentist's office and allow the dentist to make sure your child's smile is developing properly.
When that grin is fully in place, your child will begin full dental appointments at about two or three. In the meantime, you can help ensure the first regular checkup goes smoothly by leading the charge on your child's oral health at home.
Toddlers need to brush their teeth twice a day and can do so with a parent's help. Use a soft, child-sized toothbrush, which should be replaced every three months. Letting your child pick out their own toothbrush can promote ownership of their oral health. The amount of toothpaste used should be roughly equivalent to the size of a pea, giving your child just enough - but not too much - fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay. And, of course, set a good example yourself!
After the first appointment, children should visit the dentist for routine checkups every six months, just like adults.
Remember: The State of Texas Dental Discount Plan is not dental insurance. This discount plan allows you to pay a discounted fee at the time of service when you visit a participating network dentist. The State of Texas Dental Discount Plan can be used for routine and preventive care, specialty treatment and cosmetic services such as braces for children and adults, as well as teeth whitening. There are no limits on plan use, and savings start as soon as your plan takes effect.