Children need to have their first visit to the dentist when their first tooth comes in, or by their first birthday, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Unfortunately, not all parents are following this advice. For example, a recent survey found that on average, most Illinois children do not see the dentist until they are 3.5 years old.
Some parents may simply not understand what a dental care professional will do for their child when they only have a few teeth. However, the first visit to the dentist is very important for children. During this visit, the dentist will not only examine a baby's teeth and gums, but also look for any problems with their jaw, skin and soft tissues in and around the mouth.
Also, the dentist can show parents the best ways to care for their baby's emerging teeth and discuss the best snacks and drinks to promote oral health. Furthermore, dental health professionals can talk to parents about how to encourage their child to not be afraid of the dentist, so that biannual dental visits will not be traumatic.
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