The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child should go to the dentist within six months of getting their first tooth – and no later than their first birthday. Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) shares what your dentist will do at your baby’s first visit: 

Check your child for cavities. Hawaii has the highest prevalence of tooth decay in the nation. 

Show how you brush and floss your baby’s teeth. There are different types of toothbrushes for baby, depending on their comfort level. Flossing can come later once teeth have sprouted. 

Teach you about food, drinks, and habits that can cause cavities.  Proper nutrition is a critical part of taking care of your baby’s oral health. Avoid foods with excess sugar, and do not let the baby fall asleep while drinking milk or formula. 

Talk about fluoride and how it can prevent cavities. Hawaii doesn’t have fluoride in their water supply, but that’s ok – there are many ways for your baby to get fluoride including topical fluoride varnish, supplements, and more. Fluoride is a safe way to prevent cavities, it makes teeth stronger and more resistant to acid caused by eating sugary foods and drinks.

Check your child’s bite, growth, and development.  Early detection of any potential problems allows you more options to address them. Your child’s dentist can provide guidance on proper pacifier and milk bottle use for babies and how to prevent crooked teeth and baby bottle tooth decay.

Give you information to prevent accidents as your baby grows. Dentists can offer new parents a lot of tips on how to care for baby’s teeth; so, ask questions! 

Healthy baby teeth are critical to a child’s early physical, social and emotional development – they maintain proper spacing in the jaw and between teeth until the adult teeth are ready to grow in, foster good nutrition through proper chewing, aid in speech development and build self-esteem by providing a healthy smile. Introducing your little one to good oral hygiene habits and regular visits to their dentist at an early age is the best way they can learn to Live Well, Smile More.