When Should Kids Start Seeing the Dentist?

By Jenifer Dorsey

Kids First Dentist VisitHealthy habits start young. This also applies to establishing a good oral health routine. Many parents wonder when to schedule their child’s first dental visit, and many oral health and children’s health organizations are in general agreement: when the first tooth appears.

The American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry specify that kids should have their first dentist within 6 months of the first tooth’s eruption and no later than 12 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children with risk factors for carries see a dentist within 6 months of the first tooth’s eruption or 12 months of age and that all children see a dentist by 12 months old, whenever possible. The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry simply states that the first appointment with a pediatric dentist should occur as soon as the first tooth appears and no later than a child’s first birthday.

Preventive dental exams are an important at all ages and stages of life. Tooth decay—aka dental caries—are the most prevalent chronic disease in children and adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. It is also largely preventable. Regular dental exams and cleanings, sealants, brushing and flossing daily, avoiding sugary treats and drinks, and fluoride treatments all contribute to healthy teeth and gums.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month—a great time to brush up on oral health. If your kids—or you—haven’t seen the dentist for a while, take a moment to schedule an appointment today.

Need help finding a dentist?

Read “How to Find a Dentist for Your Child” for tips on choosing a dentist. Use the following organizations’ find-a-dentist tools to locate oral health providers near you:

Looking for dental insurance?  

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the pediatric dental and vision essential health benefit must be made available to those buying exchange-based health insurance for children. It must be embedded in a qualified health insurance plan, bundled with a qualified health insurance plan or offered as a standalone plan. Pediatric dental and vision benefits vary from state to state and are offered to children under age 19. Read “How Obamacare Will Impact Kids’ Oral Health” and visit your state’s exchange website to learn more about this EHB.

Dental insurance for adults is available on some state exchanges. You can also visit dentalinsurance.org to learn more about dental plans and get a free quote. Have questions about dental insurance on or away from the Obamacare exchanges? Speak to one of dentalinsurance.org’s certified dental insurance advisors at 866-645-6630.

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