At Mountain View Pediatric dentistry, we follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, AAPD. Our recommendation is that children create a dental home by the time they are 12 months old. This simply means seeing a pediatric dentist 6 months after the first tooth has erupted and no later than 12 months old.
What Can a Dentist do with a 12 Month Old Baby?
This is a great question and one that we hear often. Our staff views an appointment with a 12 month old similar to a well-check with the pediatrician. We exam the baby’s mouth and verify that they are developing on schedule. We look for tooth eruption, symmetry in the mouth, and any abnormalities that may exist.
A great deal of the appointment is spent talking about oral health education with the parents. We will discuss the need for proper oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) to help prevent tooth decay and get your child used to the routine by feeling the brush and floss in their mouth. It may seem strange at first, but it is a lot easier to introduce brushing and flossing to a baby when they are smaller, rather than waiting until they are 2-3 years old.
In addition to education about oral health, we will talk to parents about what they can do as far as breastfeeding, bottle feeding, sippy cup use, and binky/pacifier use. Parents will be provided with a folder that includes a booklet of information on babies oral health, instruction, and diagrams on proper brushing and flossing. We want to educate parents and prevent as much tooth decay as possible. Unfortunately, it is very common for us to see 1 and 2 year olds with cavities that require restorations and crowns.
Get Your Baby Used to Going to the Dentist
Education for your baby’s oral health is the most important thing you can get out of your child’s first appointment. We want the visit to help your baby get in the routine of coming to the office, seeing our staff and getting accustomed to the process.