When Should You Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment?

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(Last Updated On: September 1, 2020)

Do You Know When Should You Schedule Child’s First Dentist Appointment? It may be earlier than you think. While this post is sponsored, all opinions and my passion for helping Florida children get the health and dental coverage they need are my own.

Importance of Kids dental health

When Should You Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment?

I am the proud mother of two amazing children. Two children that I would give the world to if I could. But, I am also a mother who makes mistakes. We all make mistakes, yes, but when my daughter was about 3 years old, I made a big one.

Kids dental health

I was one of those parents that thought taking young children to the dentist was kind of “silly.” I mean, she didn’t even have all her teeth yet!  And, the teeth she was going to get were all going to fall out. And, my son, who is almost 3 years older than her, has very strong teeth, like me. He never had an issue with his teeth, and he still hasn’t. So, I figured, why waste my time (and money!) taking two young children to the dentist when we clearly didn’t need to go.

When should kids go to dentist

Then, one day I had my daughter with me in the cell phone store, my contract was up so I was getting a new phone, and she kept whining that her tooth hurt. I kept telling her that she was being silly, that she was too young to have her teeth hurt (she was about 3 at the time). I honestly thought that she just hit her limit of being at the store, great mom, right?? Finally, I told her that the only way her teeth would hurt is if buggies ate her teeth, really just for her to understand that there was NO WAY her teeth hurt.

Then she said, “Mommy, can you see the buggies?” and she opened her little mouth wide.

And oh did I. The cavity in her little baby tooth was about the size of her whole tooth. I felt horrible.

I had to borrow the store phone to call the dentist. They made us an emergency appointment and I drove straight there. Once they looked at the tooth, they asked us to wait until after-hours because they wanted to give her laughing gas and they we afraid that if she was yelling or crying she would scare the other patients. I get that. Totally understand.

As we sat and waited, I wondered how in the world did I let this happen to my baby girl?!

When they called us back, they gave her the laughing gas and I held her little hand and they pulled out the cavity-filled tooth.

She took it so well. Better than I would have.

I drove home from the dentist that day in tears, I just couldn’t believe that I let this happen to her. I obviously didn’t pay enough attention when she brushed, I didn’t think to take her to the dentist. I did this to her. I called my husband and he picked her up a little princess tent on his way home, as a “Good Job For Being Brave” present, and she slept in it that night. I’ll never forget it. My little princess in her princess tent.  She woke up with blood on her pillow, but she still smiled at me.  She forgave me, even if I still haven’t.

Why kids should go to dentist

She had to keep a spacer there until she was 10 years old to make sure the other teeth grew in okay. We had to go in regularly to make sure it was placed in okay, and that it was being cleaned well. To stop other “buggies” from getting in.

We just got her spacer out a few months ago.

So, if you are like me, and think that taking your child to the dentist at a young age is a waste of your time and money, I beg you to learn from my mistakes.

How old should kids be to go to dentist

When should you take your child to the dentist for the first time?

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that your child’s first visit should be when the first tooth erupts in the mouth, no later than age one to two.  The dentist may not do much at all at the first visit, this appointment is really to just get your child used to coming.

After that first visit (and for the rest of their life) they should visit the dentist every six months. Be sure to go in between visits if there are any issues.

Your child will be having full dental appointments by the time they are 3 years old (but don’t wait til they are 3 years old for their first appointment like I did!). You can expect the dentist to want to take x-rays by the age of five.

Keeping your child’s teeth, cavity-free begins from the time they are young infants. There are actually many experts who will tell you that cavities are genetic.

Even when your infant does not have any teeth showing, they are still there, underneath the gums. At this point, nutrition is almost everything. Making sure your child is eating a healthy diet of either breast milk or formula is very important.

Then, after every feeding, just taking a warm cloth and very gently wiping off the gums helps remove any leftover particles. As an infant, the very worst thing you could possibly do is give your child any kind of soda—kids who drink soda as a baby inevitably end up with cavities as young children.

As your baby grows, allowing them to take a bottle to bed is another invitation for cavities. There are many reasons for this. For one, you, as the parent, are not getting the chance to wipe off your baby’s gums, and also, bottles that are given in the bed usually have juice in them. Juice contains sugar, and then sugar is in the mouth all night long.

A rule of thumb is, as soon as you start giving your child juice, you should be using one of those rubber finger toothbrushes to brush their emerging teeth and gums. There is even baby toothpaste you can use that is safe for babies and great for their teeth.

Feeding your child properly as they are growing is very important for your child’s teeth. You can brush their teeth all day long, but if all you are giving them to eat is sugar, then their teeth are going to deteriorate. Teeth need nutrition. Calcium and Vitamin D especially. Make sure you are feeding them plenty of foods containing these nutrients.

When should you take child to dentist

If I didn’t have dental insurance, I can’t even imagine the cost of the work that my daughter had to have done, not to mention the follow-up visits on her spacer. Having dental insurance for your children is just as important as having health insurance!

But what if you don’t have dental insurance? What is your employer doesn’t offer dental insurance? What if you are currently without employment? What if you can’t afford dental insurance? How can you make sure that your child still has coverage?

If you are a Florida resident, the answer is easy. It’s Florida KidCare.

I know I told you guys that Florida KidCare offers health coverage to children in Florida, but Florida KidCare includes dental coverage too. Thank goodness. Even if one or both parents are working, a child is still eligible for Florida KidCare.

What is Florida KidCare?

Florida KidCare is the state’s comprehensive, low-cost health and dental insurance for kids from birth through the end of age 18.

How do you know if you are eligible for Florida KidCare?

Your child is eligible for Florida KidCare even if one or both parents are working.

Can Florida KidCare help find child health insurance if you don’t qualify for subsidized coverage?

Full-pay options are available to families that do not qualify for free or subsidized health insurance.

When is open enrollment for Florida KidCare?

Enrollment is open year-round.

Do a lot of families use Florida KidCare? Is it something you can trust?

YES. Approximately 2.4 million Florida children rely on Florida KidCare for the head to toe coverage they need.

Learn more about Florida KidCare

Don’t let the little “buggies” get your child’s teeth too. Keep those pearly whites healthy and happy. Keep those little teeth covered with dental insurance and protect that smile.

Taking child to dentist

Apply for Florida KidCare – you can also give them a call at 1-888-540-KIDS (5437) and TTY 1-800-955-8771

When did you take your child to the dentist for the first time? Between the ages of 1 and 2.

Just like you do well-baby check-ups, you should do a well-tooth check-up. A dentist can help educate you as the parent on how to better care for your child’s teeth and help keep your child’s teeth cavity-free.

Dental health for kids

Follow Florida KidCare on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

When Should You Schedule Your Child's First Dentist Appointment?

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