Protecting Your Baby's Smile
The following organizations all recommend that infants receive an oral evaluation within six months of the first primary tooth’s eruption, but no later than 12 months of age:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
- American Dental Association
- Academy of General Dentistry
- American Association of Public Health Dentistry
- American Public Health Association
- Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors
Visiting the dentist by age 1 helps you:
- Get to know the dentist.
- Learn how to avoid cavities that can cause your child pain and serious health problems.
- Know who to call if your child has an emergency.
- Save money by learning healthy habits and how to care for your baby's teeth.
Baby's First Visit to the Dentist
At the first check-up, the dentist will:
- Check your child for cavities.
- Show you how to brush and floss your child's teeth.
- Teach you about food, drinks and habits that can cause cavities.
- Talk about fluoride.
- Check your child's bite, growth and development.
- Give you information on how to prevent accidents as your baby grows.
How to Care for Your Baby's Smile
- Dentist by 1: See a dentist within six months of getting the first tooth or before the first birthday.
- Clean: Clean your baby's gums with a damp washcloth after eating and drinking.
- Brush: Use a soft toothbrush and water to brush your baby's teeth and gums. Brush in soft, gentle circles two times a day.
- No bottle in bed: Don't let your baby sleep with a bottle at nap time or at night.
- Give milk or water: Give your child milk or water and avoid drinks with added sugar, such as soda or juice.
- Don't share forks, spoons or food: Sharing utensils can spread germs that cause cavities.