Why your child should visit the dentist by age 1

Scheduling an appointment with your child’s dentist before age 1 has many benefits. Families commonly have the misconception that children don’t need a dental visit until their first teeth emerge; however, the earlier visit the better.

Baby smiling in cribVisiting the dentist as an infant not only helps to form a bond with their dentist, but also can lead to less anxiety down the road when children make their regular visits. As children are introduced to new adults at a young age in life, they may be more likely to feel comfortable and calm with those individuals as they progress through childhood.

Long-term exposure to liquids containing sugar and acids may cause a common problem known as “baby bottle tooth decay.” Delta Dental of Arizona reports that most tooth decay in infants begins in the upper front teeth, but also may affect other teeth. Visiting a dentist early can help teach parents and caregivers preventative care techniques to maintain the best oral care possible.

During the first dental visit, parents can expect an examination for growth and developmental milestones, cavity check and an overview lesson on best-practice oral health care for young children. When parents take initiative to enroll their child at birth for dental benefits, they can help ensure that their children have a healthy smile to last a lifetime.

Taking advantage of local resources make a difference for families in need

Community supporters like Delta Dental Foundation of Arizona provide oral health resources to individuals throughout all stages of life, giving parents a reason to smile. The foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting oral health and prevent dental disease in children and youth through age 18, with a particular emphasis in underserved and uninsured communities.

Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation generously donated $20,000 to Southwest Human Development to support oral health programs, providing funds for educational events and services like Healthy Families picnics and The Oral Health Program for Children, Families and Expectant Mothers. These events and services are part of Southwest Human Development’s Healthy Families and Early Head Start/Head Start programs, and educate families on the benefits of good oral health for children using the Smiles for Life curriculum developed by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

In total, Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation has donated more than $100,000 to Southwest Human Development and has provided more than $11 million in community grants to oral health promotion and dental disease prevention programs in Arizona. For many low-income families who struggle to find affordable dental health options, Southwest Human Development and the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation are creating change by sharing importance of caring for children’s oral health.

Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation’s commitment to providing oral health care access for all continues to make an impact in our community, and the lives of families in need.

Learn more about Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation’s oral health initiatives.

All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.