At what age should a child have their first dental visit?
The newest guidelines from the York Region Public Health Dental Program strongly recommend children have their first dental visit before their first birthday. The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, along with many other professional associations support and promote this message. Even at such a young age, there is always risk of cavities – even if only a few teeth are present. In the yearly York Region Oral Health Report it was noted that since 2011, children between 0 and 13 years of age have a cavities rate of approximately 30%. That’s pretty high!
What to expect at your baby’s first dental visit
Your baby or toddler’s first dental visit is very different from an older child or adult’s dental visit. The exam of looking into the mouth to screen for cavities is usually less than 5 minutes long. The parent holds the child in their lap and the dental hygienist is usually able to recline the dental chair slightly to look into the child’s mouth and examine the teeth and surrounding tissues.
In addition to checking for tooth decay, the dental hygienist will also examine the child’s tongue for good range of motion and assess if a tongue tie is present. A tongue tie can influence the child’s speech development, eating and swallowing, and may also interfere with breastfeeding.
After examining the child’s teeth the dental hygienist will take the opportunity to teach the parents about oral health care for the little one. Oral habits such as thumb sucking and pacifier use are also addressed. Thumb sucking can affect the proper development of the upper arch and front teeth. Pacifiers can also affect cranio-facial development depending on the type used and length of time it is used.
The dental hygienist also provides counselling on diet and feeding practices such as breast feeding and bottle feeding. Fluoride exposure is also reviewed. As well, if any concerns are present regarding the baby’s oral health, the dental hygienist is able to refer to a pediatric dentist and/or physician.
Dental hygienists have an important role in oral health care for babies before their first birthday.
Visit us today!
Visit Pina Mazza at Maple Dental Hygiene Care with your baby for their first dental visit before their first birthday. Your baby depends on you to give them a proper start to a lifetime of great oral health!